|Photo Courtesy of Branch Price for the NY Daily News|
The intimate West Village shop, one of the last in the city that specializes in selling hip-hop vinyl, is closing its doors, the company announced Wednesday.
"The business is down. The rent is up," said store manager Eric (DJ Eclipse) Winn, 40. "We've slowly lost all of the retail end of the company. ... Between the Internet and Serato [a digital DJ program] that's what hurt the vinyl sales."
Inside the store, known as "The Last Stop for Hip-Hop," customers were devastated.
"Damn, I didn't know," said DJ Kase, 29, of Jersey City, a longtime customer at the Sixth Ave. store.
"The Internet messed it all up. This was like a cornerstone for hip-hop. This is where you get your [stuff]," he said.
He recalled when he saw Outkast inside the store and picked up Raekwon's album "Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..."
"It's something about putting your hands on wax and digging through records. It's something the Internet can't do for you," the deejay said. "I have a true love for vinyls."
Jorge Berrios, 34, of South Ozone Park, Queens, spent $13 on three vinyls - "Player's Anthem" by Junior M.A.F.I.A., "Candy Rain" by Soul for Real and Zhigge's "Rakin' in the Dough."
"You have no idea how sad I am," Berrios told the store owner. "It's almost like my second home."
The store was a haven for rap fans, and a top promotional stop for artists. The Fugees, Common and Kool G Rap were among the artists whose autographed photos covered the walls.
Veteran hip-hop producer DJ Spinna was deeply saddened by the closing of the store that boosted his career.
"It was definitely a landmark for the underground movement of the '90s," he said. "Young people who've never touched wax probably don't know what the closing of a store like this means."
In past years, once popular music stores like Tower Records, HMV and the Virgin Megastore have also been shuttered.
"It just means that we're heading to a place where music won't exist in a physical form anymore," the producer said.
The final day for the New York store, which first opened on W. Ninth St. in 1994, will be Sept. 4. The Los Angeles store will close on Sept. 18.
"We're losing stores that sell vinyl because of downloads and stuff like that," said veteran DJ Clark Kent. "It's a shame that deejays lose this place."
With Michael DiSilvestri
News courtesy of The NY Daily News