Opinion | The pain of losing a local record store


As with many meaningful deaths, mourning companies can have a clear public aspect. Sometimes closing a store requires a quick mention in a local newspaper, or on a nearby blog or Facebook group, to let the public know that the dry cleaning is closed after 25 years, or that the pet store is now replaced by a sheep shop. Some companies with a legacy large enough receive their own obituaries, complete with stories that have been collected over the years, farewell interviews with owners and customers, and tributes collected from far and wide. Some even inspire spontaneous grieving, including pop-up shrines complete with flowers, candles, and condolence notes. Many just close their doors without saying a word.

Within an hour of posting the news of online store closure, the owner of June, Ian Cheung, was flooded with messages, messages on social media, questions from journalists and calls of disbelief and grief, which quickly erupted in bursts of personal memory. The time that Mr. Cheung put them personally on Solange & # 39; s epic solo album, the time they had a relationship with his dog, Loki, (who ran the store), threw the annual holiday celebration Mr. Cheung in the store for loyal customers, the concerts he put on the back. Old customers like me now took records that they bought from their shelves in June and played them again, like lovers after a break.

Churn is the normal course of action, the invisible hand that uses its efficient magic and shifts resources from less productive activities to others. I have to explain this fact to my daughter every day as we walk to school past the construction site that previously had her favorite store, sold hairy costumes and overpriced hugs to adults, and who, despite the $ 20 in compensation she spent there more than two years, closed last summer. "No, honey, it won't open again," I tell her, talking about the triumphant return. "Something else is opening." Over time, June Records will also be replaced by another company, and ultimately the one who delivered the right goods or service for the right price will win, in theory for all of us as consumers.

But experience has taught me that this cold logic is far from airtight. Our emotional connection with shops, restaurants and other commercial places whose loss we regret has nothing to do with economics. These companies give us the most pleasure because of their irrational exuberance, their daily chutzpah, that is what is so human about them.

I never went to June Records to buy a record. I went to June to go to June. To experience a humanizing moment through commerce. To enter that space, communicate with his goods and his personalities and walk away with something much bigger than a copy of Bill Withers & # 39;+Justments. "