Your Favourite, Now Sadly Defunct, Stores?

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
As physical stores keep disappearing under the relentless assault of Amazon, et al, I start thinking back to more and more favourites that I used to enjoy so much. Sometimes just browsing, but most often buying too. They were all incredible, fun experience, and scanning through my app just ain't the same thing.

Off the top of my head, the one I miss the most, is the Worlds Biggest Bookstore in Toronto. As the name suggests, it was enormous. Two huge warehouse like stores full of books a magazines. A readers delight. It's been gone at least 5 years now, and I still miss it.

So what are yours?5F235126-A465-45A0-882A-2C11D8D588C5.png780B926A-47A2-4DCB-8042-38C0490376D4.jpeg80F9CC63-09ED-4A95-9F8B-012DFF5D0922.jpeg
 

airdronian

Radar Member
The good old A&B Sound in Victoria. Where I pieced together my first system. Probably the best place to shop for records at the time.

Victoria_A&B.jpeg
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I know it’s a chain and not that unique but I miss Tower Records. By the time I got to a big city, any large independents were gone. We still have a lot of nice small independent retailers, though, and I really try to support them over Amazon or, say, Best Buy or Barnes & Noble.
 

MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
I know it’s a chain and not that unique but I miss Tower Records.
I too loved Tower Records, at one time there were 3 different locations in lower Manhattan, and another near Lincoln Center. I'd love to someday visit the remaining stores still operating in Japan, the Akihabara location would be a destination for me if I ever make it to Japan.

Similarly, I very much miss Borders book store. There was a location in Mt. Kisco, NY less than 15 minutes from where I live that I could spend hours in. The White Plains, NY store was even bigger and better.

I also really liked the Virgin Megastore, two fantastic Manhattan locations, and I even found my way into the San Francisco and Orlando locations while traveling. All of them were pretty awesome.

On a more general and broad basis, I really miss Sears. That store served me very well for decades, everything from car batteries and tires, Craftsman tools, lawn mowers, shoes and basic clothing, and electronics like TVs, or appliances by Kenmore and others, Sears seemed to always have what I needed in stock at good prices. I would have to go to 3-4 different stores now to get what I could find all in one place at Sears.
 

MikeO

Active Member
A picture from the internet of my favourite all time record store. It was located on a small side street in downtown Toronto near the University of Toronto campus. My enjoyment of vinyl pretty much disappeared when they closed this shop down maybe 7 or 8 years ago. I believe they had been in business since the 70s. Albums were all in good condition, and reasonably priced, and both owners could answer just about any question you had about albums, labels, etc. Would often wander in after work with 20 dollars in my pocket and leave with a couple of amazing jazz albums.


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MikeO

Active Member
Was trying to find some pictures online of a couple of other favourites that have closed in the last 10 years or so and can't find a single photo. One was a stereo store called Audio Oasis in the west end of Toronto and the other was a local video rental place called Price-Less Video. Both amazing businesses. What struck me most is how quickly their visual history seems to have been wiped off the internet. I find it so strange that we can find images of large businesses from the 1920s so easily yet a business that just went out of business 10 years ago is virtually impossible to find.
 

1tumbleweed

Junior Member
I spent way too much money at Record Theater in Baltimore, housed in an old supermarket. Never knew until recently it was part of a chain. This pic is from Rochester, NY:

1628361850525.png

Here in Denver, we're lucky to still have one of the best record stores ever - Twist 'N Shout.

 
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HepcatWilly

Junior Member
Lechmere had a surprisingly good electronics section. I believe they stocked many of the great New England speakers, including Allison.

Daddy's Junky Music stores were great. As was Tweeter, Etc.

Sigh. I took a different route home from the airport and was disappointed to see that even Route 1 in Saugus MA has gone all corporate. Nearly all the interesting, independent stores are gone, replaced by chains like Bed Bath and Beyond.
 

Doghouse Riley

Senior Junior Member
C&A, good for menswear. Closed their high street stores in the UK in 2001.

CandA.jpg

Still wearing a couple of their casual shirts now and again. which must be twenty year's old now and still in good condition.
 

JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
I too loved Tower Records, at one time there were 3 different locations in lower Manhattan, and another near Lincoln Center. I'd love to someday visit the remaining stores still operating in Japan, the Akihabara location would be a destination for me if I ever make it to Japan.

Similarly, I very much miss Borders book store. There was a location in Mt. Kisco, NY less than 15 minutes from where I live that I could spend hours in. The White Plains, NY store was even bigger and better.

I also really liked the Virgin Megastore, two fantastic Manhattan locations, and I even found my way into the San Francisco and Orlando locations while traveling. All of them were pretty awesome.

On a more general and broad basis, I really miss Sears. That store served me very well for decades, everything from car batteries and tires, Craftsman tools, lawn mowers, shoes and basic clothing, and electronics like TVs, or appliances by Kenmore and others, Sears seemed to always have what I needed in stock at good prices. I would have to go to 3-4 different stores now to get what I could find all in one place at Sears.
When I moved to Chicago the selling point of my first apartment was that there was a Borders around the corner. I’m still buried in all of the books I bought there. And still haven’t read 1/10th of them. I used to go there every other night and drink coffee and read magazines. Back when I could drink two cups of coffee and go right to bed. I still miss Borders- I found so many of my favorite bands in the 90s and 00s at their listening stations. The one in west Richmond VA in the 90s had a really tuned-in buyer in their music section. He told me that, at least back then, the music sections varied greatly. And we’d spend hours there in grad school finding photos in books to scan and return for our fake ad-school ads. The music we bought more than made up for buying and returning their photo books over and over.
 
I too loved Tower Records, at one time there were 3 different locations in lower Manhattan, and another near Lincoln Center. I'd love to someday visit the remaining stores still operating in Japan, the Akihabara location would be a destination for me if I ever make it to Japan.

Apparently there are 85 Tower Records stores through out Japan, so visiting all of them would be quite the undertaking. I've visited 2 of the 3 stores in Tokyo - the one in Akihibara and the one in Shinjuku. The Akihibara store is the least interesting of them and is located inside Yodobashi cameras, which is a great store where one can even buy stereo gear.

The flagship store in Tokyo and all of Japan is the Shibuya store, which is a 9 story affair. That would be worth a visit.

Tower-Records_Shibuya.jpg
 
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MikeyFresh

Moderator
Staff member
Apparently there are 85 Tower Records stores through out Japan, so visiting all of them would be quite the undertaking. I've visited a 2 of the 3 stores in Tokyo - the one in Akihibara and the one in Shinjuku. The Akihibara store is the least interesting of them and is located inside Yodobashi cameras, which is a great store where one can even buy stereo gear.

The flagship store in Tokyo and all of Japan is the Shibuya store, which is a 9 story affair. That would be worth a visit.

View attachment 38692
Well OK then, I won't be able to visit all of their locations unless I spend a year or so in Japan, and I guess if I do ever make it there I'd probably substitute that Shibuya store for Akihabara as the one to see!
 

Doghouse Riley

Senior Junior Member
I also miss Radio Shack. They were so handy for so many things that you don't really find elsewhere. Now I have to order all of that stuff online and wait for it to be delivered.

I do too. Here it was called Tandy, but sold their labelled products. It was handy for audio stuff. Now here, there's nowhere. I have to use eBay.
 

prime minister

Site Owner
Staff member
When I moved to Chicago the selling point of my first apartment was that there was a Borders around the corner. I’m still buried in all of the books I bought there. And still haven’t read 1/10th of them. I used to go there every other night and drink coffee and read magazines. Back when I could drink two cups of coffee and go right to bed. I still miss Borders- I found so many of my favorite bands in the 90s and 00s at their listening stations. The one in west Richmond VA in the 90s had a really tuned-in buyer in their music section. He told me that, at least back then, the music sections varied greatly. And we’d spend hours there in grad school finding photos in books to scan and return for our fake ad-school ads. The music we bought more than made up for buying and returning their photo books over and over.
I used to love Borders Coffee to. Didnt they have their own brand, and then switched to something dreadful like Seattle's Best? This would have been in the first part of the oughts. I think they had some disgusting, sugary coffee drink that I used to adore.

Edit: Actually, it might have been their disgusting, sugary chai drink that i used to adore.
 
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I know it’s a chain and not that unique but I miss Tower Records. By the time I got to a big city, any large independents were gone. We still have a lot of nice small independent retailers, though, and I really try to support them over Amazon or, say, Best Buy or Barnes & Noble.
@JohnVF, my son worked at the Columbus St. Tower in SF. I think that was about 2004 when things really started to roll downhill. (He managed the Jazz section, the manager had a serious umm, well, she had some problems, shall we say.) I think that was the 2nd store opened after the Sacramento store. Never bought many records there, but the Magazine section was a lifesaver more than once; got all my Listener's there. Tower, like Fry's, lasted as long as they did because they owned the Real Estate the stores were on. Just kept refinancing until they ran out of equity. The sales had moved on (internet) but the sharks lived on.
 
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JohnVF

Administrator
Staff member
@JohnVF, my son worked at the Columbus St. Tower in SF. I think that was about 2004 when things really started to roll downhill. (He managed the Jazz section, the manager had a serious umm, well, she had some problems, shall we say.) I think that was the 2nd store opened after the Sacramento store. Tower, like Fry's, lasted as long as they did because they owned the Real Estate the stores were on. Just kept refinancing until they ran out of equity. The body had died long ago, but the wallet still had some money in it.
The shell of the local one I went to in Chicago is still around, nothing else went in there :( The one downtown became a Virgin MegaStore, which was actually a more interesting store than the last iteration of Tower, but it, too, went under. There was an FYE downtown when I last lived there but its gone now, too- only record store in downtown Chicago now is a little Reckless Records, nice little store but its not an event to go there.... its just a hole i the wall.
 
I too loved Tower Records, at one time there were 3 different locations in lower Manhattan, and another near Lincoln Center. I'd love to someday visit the remaining stores still operating in Japan, the Akihabara location would be a destination for me if I ever make it to Japan.

Similarly, I very much miss Borders book store. There was a location in Mt. Kisco, NY less than 15 minutes from where I live that I could spend hours in. The White Plains, NY store was even bigger and better.

I also really liked the Virgin Megastore, two fantastic Manhattan locations, and I even found my way into the San Francisco and Orlando locations while traveling. All of them were pretty awesome.

On a more general and broad basis, I really miss Sears. That store served me very well for decades, everything from car batteries and tires, Craftsman tools, lawn mowers, shoes and basic clothing, and electronics like TVs, or appliances by Kenmore and others, Sears seemed to always have what I needed in stock at good prices. I would have to go to 3-4 different stores now to get what I could find all in one place at Sears.
@MikeyFresh .. Sear's is still in business, It changed it's name to Amazon.
 
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