I can’t tell you how many times in the last two months I have driven or walked by Exiled Records (4628 SE Hawthorne Blvd.) and Jackpot Records (3574 SE Hawthorne Blvd), two boutique record shops here in Portland, and sighed. The curse of COVID-19 has kept a favorite Sunday pastime, to have a bit of coffee, go for a stroll, and then go thumb the bins at the shops. I know you have been missing it too. Wells here’s back to the new normal.
I have had concerns, like many in Portland, and the world for that matter, if this might be the demise of the independent record shops. COVID-19 lockdowns have shuttered many a business. Despite the last three years of vinyl and independent record shops making a comeback, many more have been crushed by the weight of high rents and a large inventory of, let’s face it, passion merchandise. With restrictions on only necessary stores being open, those with services usually for food, all other small shops had to shut down and lay off workers.
Most record shops turned to online sales, which many of them do on a regular basis with Discogs and eBay back up sales, as their main source of income. Many of the local shops that were larger, such as Millenium Music, started doing curbside pickup with phone sales. Well, at least some of them survived. I saw the neon open signs for Exiled last week, but I guess I was in a stupor, denial. Naw, that can’t be true? Then today I walked up to Jackpot and the door was open, there were rules for shopping boards. I had my mask and whipped out my nitrile gloves. I totally got my mind off of Portland in lockdown curfew days.
Thank you for managing to stay alive guys. My Sundays are getting back to normal.
And Record Store Day lists revised comes out later today. https://recordstoreday.com/Home