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Happy Anniversary?

Lou’s Records, about to enter its 30th year of business, is in “serious financial trouble,” according to a store employee. The source and others say that the Leucadia record store is experiencing at least temporary difficulty in providing some product because distributors have restricted delivery due to credit and/or financial reasons.

A different Lou’s employee, Chris Rogowski, went on the record to say that this is not Lou’s Records’ “heyday.” He says, “Everyone knows the music industry is going through some rough times.”

Rogowski acknowledges that market forces have made it difficult for a brick-and-mortar music outlet such as Lou’s — with 20 full- and part-time employees — to survive.

“When gas went crazy — over $4 a gallon [last summer] — people started staying home more. It was easier to shop [for music] online and get it shipped to your house. We don’t get a lot of foot traffic here.”

In the past, Lou’s popularity has drawn performers such as Jack Johnson, Flogging Molly, Interpol, and Rocket From the Crypt for free outdoor concerts adjacent to the store.

Making business more difficult, says Rogowski, is the fact that many record distributors have either gone out of business or, due to the shrinking economy, switched their terms on buy-backs, which means a store such as Lou’s is stuck with merchandise it previously could return for credit to buy new product.

Tony Davis, who worked for Lou’s for 21 years, now works at CIMS (Coalition of Independent Music Stores), which, once it is launched in a few months, will help Lou’s and other stores get income from downloaded tracks.

“It used to be [that] a big blockbuster would sell seven million copies,” says Davis, noting that people are “straight up stealing” music online. “Now the biggest sellers only sell one million. And video games are winning the attention of youth. And you can’t steal video games.”

But, Davis says indie stores are getting into the sale of collectible pop-culture toys. And Rogowski says the sale of vinyl records has increased strongly this year.

“Kids have discovered that records have a different sound and feel,” says Rogowski. “Plus, records have their own artwork. Kids are finding that the record-buying experience can be a social event.”

Former Licorice Pizza employee Lou Russell opened his store in 1980 at a Cardiff strip mall. He was not available for comment.

— Ken Leighton

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2

Comic book stores are experiencing the same declining audience, distribution bottlenecks, and non-return policies. One New England chain, Newbury, now mixes comics and new music in their stores, and they've had great success with this - perhaps Lou's should consider something similar? A lot of periphery comic items (toys, cards, art prints, etc) have a much better price point profit than retail music -

Dec. 23, 2008

I call bulls*** on a "source" saying the store is in “serious financial trouble.” If you can call out Chris why not name the source?

Yeah times are tough for everyone, but Lou's has been around for almost 30 years and they aren't going anywhere. Unless you hear something from Lou's themselves don't believe anything you hear about the store.

And Jay, Lou's does now sell merch, toys, posters and other such items.

Dec. 26, 2008

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Lou’s Records, about to enter its 30th year of business, is in “serious financial trouble,” according to a store employee. The source and others say that the Leucadia record store is experiencing at least temporary difficulty in providing some product because distributors have restricted delivery due to credit and/or financial reasons.

A different Lou’s employee, Chris Rogowski, went on the record to say that this is not Lou’s Records’ “heyday.” He says, “Everyone knows the music industry is going through some rough times.”

Rogowski acknowledges that market forces have made it difficult for a brick-and-mortar music outlet such as Lou’s — with 20 full- and part-time employees — to survive.

“When gas went crazy — over $4 a gallon [last summer] — people started staying home more. It was easier to shop [for music] online and get it shipped to your house. We don’t get a lot of foot traffic here.”

In the past, Lou’s popularity has drawn performers such as Jack Johnson, Flogging Molly, Interpol, and Rocket From the Crypt for free outdoor concerts adjacent to the store.

Making business more difficult, says Rogowski, is the fact that many record distributors have either gone out of business or, due to the shrinking economy, switched their terms on buy-backs, which means a store such as Lou’s is stuck with merchandise it previously could return for credit to buy new product.

Tony Davis, who worked for Lou’s for 21 years, now works at CIMS (Coalition of Independent Music Stores), which, once it is launched in a few months, will help Lou’s and other stores get income from downloaded tracks.

“It used to be [that] a big blockbuster would sell seven million copies,” says Davis, noting that people are “straight up stealing” music online. “Now the biggest sellers only sell one million. And video games are winning the attention of youth. And you can’t steal video games.”

But, Davis says indie stores are getting into the sale of collectible pop-culture toys. And Rogowski says the sale of vinyl records has increased strongly this year.

“Kids have discovered that records have a different sound and feel,” says Rogowski. “Plus, records have their own artwork. Kids are finding that the record-buying experience can be a social event.”

Former Licorice Pizza employee Lou Russell opened his store in 1980 at a Cardiff strip mall. He was not available for comment.

— Ken Leighton

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Comments
2

Comic book stores are experiencing the same declining audience, distribution bottlenecks, and non-return policies. One New England chain, Newbury, now mixes comics and new music in their stores, and they've had great success with this - perhaps Lou's should consider something similar? A lot of periphery comic items (toys, cards, art prints, etc) have a much better price point profit than retail music -

Dec. 23, 2008

I call bulls*** on a "source" saying the store is in “serious financial trouble.” If you can call out Chris why not name the source?

Yeah times are tough for everyone, but Lou's has been around for almost 30 years and they aren't going anywhere. Unless you hear something from Lou's themselves don't believe anything you hear about the store.

And Jay, Lou's does now sell merch, toys, posters and other such items.

Dec. 26, 2008

Sign in to comment

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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