The Detroit music scene will be losing one of its institutions early next year — at least temporarily but possibly for good.
Record Time, the venerable independent music shop in Roseville known as one of the leading sources for and supporters of electronic music, will be shutting its doors in February or March, according to owner Mike Himes.
The reasons, he says, are the same as those that have forced many of his colleagues out of the business; declining sales — down 12 percent nationally from 2009 so far this year — and the increase in downloads over purchases at bricks-and-mortar stores.
"Before people would get older and get on with their lives and families and buy less music, but we'd replace them with the younger generation," Himes explains. "But now that younger generation isn't buying anything physically. There are some who do; vinyl is taking off quite well, but the masses, the big majority, don't buy anymore. That's killing us."
Himes opened Record Time in May 1983 in what was then East Detroit and moved to his current Roseville location at 27360 Gratiot Ave. in March 2003. He also had now-closed branches in Rochester and Ferndale. Himes recently adjusted the store's offerings to focus on used music and video items and special orders, but that's not enough to sustain the rent at the 8,500-square-foot location.
"We've worked with the landlord and gotten concessions and he's working with us," Himes says, "but this building and everything is set up for the type of business we were doing seven to 10 years ago. It's too big a space for what we're doing now."
Noting that "there's still a good niche for what we do,” Himes says there's a possibility of moving Record Time to another location or operating the store online. Those decisions will be made in the future, after he extracts the operation from its current situation.
Meanwhile, Himes plans to send Record Time out with a bang. Starting with a signing session by local authors of books about Bob Seger, the MC5 and Detroit techno on Dec. 18, the store will host a series of special events, including live band performances, DJs and a reunion of former employees. Record Time will also take part in an international Record Store Day on Nov. 26.
All events will be listed at www.recordtime.com.
Record Time is at 27360 Gratiot, Roseville. Hours are 11 a.m.-8 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday; and noon-6 p.m. Sunday.
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