Nine years ago, Francisca and Jorge Alvarez started selling Slayer T-shirts, pentagram necklaces, and Dimmu Borgir pins at Kobey’s Swap Meet and at weekly swap meets in North County. Six years ago, they opened the Noise Shop, a metal/punk lifestyle store in downtown Escondido, an area plagued with vacant storefronts.
“A lot of businesses have gone away,” says Francisca. According to the North County Times, the City of Escondido currently has a $6 million budget deficit due in part to a 15 percent decrease in local sales tax. But, according to Francisca, it was not the economy that forced them to close up the Noise Shop this week.
“The owner of the building [is] a nice guy, but he doesn’t want to rent to us anymore.… He says we are making trouble with the other businesses next door. They judge us because of the spiked hair, tattoos, and piercings, but these kids all come from good, respectable families.… These kids were always respectful of the businesses.”
The Noise Shop has hosted live metal and punk shows once a month for the past year and a half. Local bands such as Damcyan, Chaotic Mess, and D.E.A. recently played the store. “We don’t charge for our shows,” says Francisca, “except maybe two dollars or one dollar a person for gas for the traveling bands. Some bands come all the way up from TJ.”
“There’s pretty much no other place for punk or hardcore bands to play in North County,” says bassist Angel Coronel of punk band D.E.A. “There’s the Jumping Turtle, but they only have a few spots here and there.… The owner of the [Noise Shop] building doesn’t want to lease to them because he thinks the kids are too rowdy — this means that there will be a lot more DIY sewer shows or backyard parties.”
Alvarez says she will continue to sell stickers, CDs, and patches at swap meets. “We’ll find somewhere else to open in a year or two.” The Alvarezes’ landlord chose not to comment on the matter.