Death of A Record Store

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It wasn’t a question of “if,” it was a question of “when?”

From 1999 through 2010, I had worked in record stores in St. Cloud. The bulk of those years were at a used CD/DVD/Vinyl store called CD Warehouse.  The last two years were at the famous Electric Fetus. Working in record stores was truly a blast.

But it was easy to see in a post-Napster world that digital downloading was going to wreck record stores. I remember just customer traffic alone had declined a lot from 1999 to 2002. And it never really recovered.

Which is a shame. There is a certain magic feeling of going into such a store and be exposed to all sorts of music you probably would never have thought of experiencing. I mean, in 2001 was Target and Walmart playing White Stripes or the Strokes in their businesses, let alone even promoting them? Probably not, but you could probably be pretty certain you would be able to hear such new music at a place like the Electric Fetus.

Now, come May 23, the iconic store I grew up with in my hometown of St. Cloud will be closing its doors for good. As I told St. Cloud Times reporter Ben Katzner on Saturday after I saw the news: “It was depressing. It’s sad. It’s one of the staples I usually go to when I come back to St. Cloud.” (SIDE NOTE: I reached out to the Times to share my feelings about the closing).

I bought a lot of music from the Fetus. I can thank the store (and the employee discount I got) for my awesome vinyl collection (which includes The Monks’ “Black Monk Time,” a band with connections to the Bemidji area).

That store was a staple of the St. Cloud area. People from all over world would visit the store. I saw some great live in-store shows, most notable seeing the Meat Puppets perform three feet from me and getting to meet the band after their show.

So I have many great memories of both working there and buying music as a customer there. I loved that store. It’s my first stop when I visit family and friends in St. Cloud.  I made some great friends during my time there. A good friend of mine helped get me a job there in the first place.

It’s sad. It will be missed. I will have to make one last visit before the doors shut forever. I could go to the other two Electric Fetuses (Duluth and Minneapolis have store), but those will never be my Electric Fetus.

Thanks for the music.

8 Comments

  1. Bradley Olson says:

    Joe, I read your article in the Pioneer this morning. I am a great music fan and have always liked used record stores and record stores like Electric Fetus. Although I never got to the one in Minneapolis or St. Cloud, I do on my trips to Duluth which are not often, go to the Electric Fetus in Duluth, but most often living here in Bemidji, we have the ultimate place for purchasing used music and also books at Books ‘n More. Mark, who owns the store, even offers the service of being able to order requested used books, music, movies and more. It is located in Downtown Bemidji on 3rd Street.

  2. hello joe i like bradley olson, music fan and love going to the record store, what’s true to say bradley olson please come to Downtown Bemidji on 3rd Street.

  3. I do on my trips to Duluth which are not often, go to the Electric Fetus in Duluth, but most often living here in Bemidji, we have the ultimate place for purchasing used music and also books at Books ‘n More. Mark, who owns the store, even offers the service of being able to order requested used books, music, movies and more. It is located in Downtown Bemidji on 3rd Street.

  4. Sase of downloading the songs have destroyed the music stores in the world

  5. I will have to make one last visit before the doors shut forever

  6. Jasa Review says:

    Yeah it is easier to download than to buy :P

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