snarkychaser's Blog

Chasing the Elusive is My Muse.


New Jersey, USA
January 01
Snarky is my elusive muse. It is grasping for the unobtainable that causes anguish, and in the anguish and negative space, creativity can flourish.However, I am afraid that Snarky has given me very little to chase after lately....maybe...if I'm really lucky, he will send me a picture of his poison ivy.


MARCH 27, 2012 3:27PM

The Phoenix of Record Stores

Rate: 16 Flag

 sound station Fire

After the fire, I stopped by and promised the owners, Bob and Liz and their friends, that I would write a post about the burning of our town’s only record store. That was two months ago and this is the first time that I have sat down to put their story in writing. Why did I wait so long? I am still waiting to see how the story ends.

The day of the fire, my teenage daughter called me in tears to tell me that the Sound Station was burning up. She was going to stay until the fire was put out. She was there all afternoon. The fire that burnt the record store was one of the largest that our town had seen in a while. My husband, son and I stopped by to join her and her friends to watch the firemen put out the fire that took at least two buildings and several business. The owners of the record store did not have insurance.

 Bob and Liz

The owners: Bob and Liz Photo courtesy of Nate Shoobs

Sound Station was a meeting place for many teens and young adults. My daughter went to see bands and even did her homework in the store. Within days, a website was put up to raise money so that the owner Bob and Liz could re-establish themselves in town. The site was able to raise $10,000 within the first two days. When I went to see the damage the next day, I saw Bob and Liz there to collect some items before the building was gated off. One of the men told me that they were going to compile a CD from the bands that played at the record store to raise money for the fund. I suggested that my daughter do the artwork for the cover.

 Sound station vigil

Ironically two years ago, my family had banned me from coming to the store ever since I had commented to Bob that his store looked less “cluttered” since he had added new lighting. I really upset him. He prided himself on having a neat and organized store to the point where (I was told) he might got upset when the used CDs table got out of order. I clearly had put my foot in my mouth that day. I think what I really meant was that the new lighting made the store look just a little more like the other well lit “mall stores” that we have in our down town like the Gap, Coach and Williams Sonoma. I’m sorry I didn’t see the beauty then in the record store. It was a labor of love and got its life from the owners and the community and we need to have it back.


 My daughter's raffle winnings from burned store

Last weekend, my daughter came home with the booty she had won from the raffle at the Sound Station fundraiser at the Knights of Columbus. She won items that had been retrieved from the burned store. They had had several local fundraisers and my daughter’s rugby club even emailed us that a local microbrewer had put out a Sound Station special brew. The Fundraising CD is about to come out. My daughter has done the artwork -which was inspired from a 70s styled mural that was on the back wall of the store. She even arranged to help with High School distribution for the sale of the CD. The money raised will be given to Bob and Liz on April 21st   National Record Day. I will let you know how it turns out.

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A terrible loss indeed. Corporate cookie cutter businesses are taking over our culture, and I for one don't care for it. I love locally owned quirky places like this. I hope the effort to bring them back is successful.
Thanks Desert. I pressed the publish button by accident my daughter has not had a chance to see this...hope it is OK.
I think you told the story well. Sorry to hear it.
Such a loss. In my town it was Stan's Record Bar. All the teens worshipped at the alter of Stan.
Where have you been Snarky, missed you. Its better Bob didn’t have insurance. The insurance company's would just have figured out a way to finagle Bob out of the payments anyway. Unauthorized personnel using the premises for unstated purposes or some other kind of insurance flimflam legalize. If necessary they would have put Bob in jail and said he burned down his own record store after all record stores are all going out of business. Tower records even went bankrupt.
Very interesting. You always have great posts.
As a longtime habitué of now-gone Boston, Worcester, and Newport record stores -- and an employee at some of them -- my heart was utterly moved by this presentation. I was lucky enough to have experienced the long boxes and cut-out bins and cassette racks that defined our towns and us as residents. I've clicked on the link you've provided and promise to help out. Your daughter's artwork is evocative and I do hope that all will comply with the "phoenix" metaphor and rise gloriously from the ashes.
At least the fire took care of the...oh, I won't say it. I hope Bob has forgiven you for the faux pas. Could the fire have been caused by faulty wiring? If he was renting the place maybe he could sue somebody. Hmmmm...just scratching around in the dirt here looking for something to peck at. What warms the cockles of my heart is the sense that the community has come together over this disaster, maybe turning it into a blessing of sorts.

Good to see you back.
Great post... I love used book and music stores... hope all goes well with funding the restoration. Bought my step-son a gift certificate for a Christmas present and the guy who owned the shop said, "Kelton will be happy to get this. Over the last few years, I've managed to coax him away from bad punk rock all the way back into Sinatra." He was very familiar with our life time efforts to guide Kel's journey of discovery through America's musical heritage and for that I am in his debt.
Such a sad topic, although I'm warmed by the outpouring of community support. This is the way the world should work, where we willingly offer a hand to those in need.

It's nice to see your writing again, I've missed you.
Always sad to hear about a local business burning, and especially a record store. Add my wishes to the pile of those regarding their speedy return.
Sad story, always sad to see the loss of so many small memorable business, that have such amazing history. It is more than a building lost.
What a terrible loss. I hate whenever we lose the old, homey businesses for any reason, but a fire makes it so much worse. Hope your daughter won't mind that you shared the story.