BUFFALO, N.Y. -- An iconic business in Buffalo suffered the loss of its longtime owner recently, and it is now preparing to close one of its two stores this weekend.
Record Theatre has been around for more than 40 years, and on Sunday, the University Heights location will close for good.
Record Theatre's flagship store on Main Street by Canisius College opened in 1976.
Chief Financial Officer Michael Pierce has been there the whole time.
"We had up to 25 stores at one time,” he said.
That was just in Western New York, but eventually they dwindled down to just two.
After the weekend, it will be just one.
"It means all our efforts are going into this one store. We can concentrate on better selection, our best personnel,” Pierce said.
True to Pierce's word, from Abba and Zappa, Record Theatre at Main and Lafayette has old, new, and everything in between.
Joe Igielinski joined Record Theatre 25 years ago when there were still about 15 stores left. He worked at several of them before ending up at the main store, and he says he believes in the industry.
“I'm sure there are a lot of people out there who download and stream, but there are still a lot of people on the planet, and there are a lot of a people who like to get the physical thing right in their hand,” he said.
Due to the advent of CD’s in the 90s and 2000s, followed by MP3 files, music downloading, and music streaming after that, vinyl records were no longer flying off the shelves. However, thanks to a recent resurgence in folks who like the vinyl sound, record sales are picking up once again, and that bodes well for Record Theatre, which is banking on these kinds of customers to keep the store open for years to come.
“That's why we're selling it, and the number one percentage of our sales is vinyl right now,” said Pierce.
Record Theatre, with its huge warehouse-style floor, is a household name in Buffalo.
"It's been here for so long, we just went through our 40th anniversary, and when it first opened, it was the biggest record store in the world, they billed it as,” said Igielinski.
Now, sale signs line the windows at the University Heights store. Any inventory that doesn't sell there will be brought down the street.
"I don't look at it as that we're closing, more like we're just merging together and making one bigger, better store,” Igielinski said.
The store's closing comes just two weeks after longtime found and owner Leonard Silver passed away at 90 years old.
"It's my intention at least to continue that legacy for him,” said Pierce. "I think it's important for the family, for the employees, and for the city of Buffalo.”
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