Today Easy Street Records posted the sad news that, after 12 years, they'll be closing their Queen Anne location on January 18 after failing to reach a rent agreement with the building's landlord. It's a totally bummer way to start the new year--the Queen Anne Easy Street has long been my favorite all-purpose record store in Seattle, for both the great selection of CDs, vinyl, and music literature, and also for the well-curated in-store performances that were one of the store's hallmarks. I have a lot of great memories of lounging among the racks of records and taking in those free, intimate shows. The store's closing is a serious loss.
Easy Street owner Matt Vaughan spoke with me on the phone a few minutes ago, sounding understandably heavy-hearted, and told me the following: "We're gonna try to improve upon West Seattle, and we hope to improve upon our website and take a little bit of time to re-evaluate where we're at with the store and our beautiful staff here."
Read Vaughan's full statement after the jump.
It's with a heavy heart that we have to say goodbye to our beloved Queen Anne neighborhood. Thanks to you, 2012 was one of our better years. We posted some good sales numbers and hosted some amazing events. We have been at this location for 12 years. We did not want to close.
In the past year, we received various honors and accolades. We were named King County's Small Business of the Year and Mayor McGinn proclaimed Dec 20 Easy Street Records Day, in which he stated that "Easy Street Records embodies the diverse musical styles that Seattle produces and is an essential part of the community." We found good reason to be optimistic about 2013.
After fulfilling our 10-year lease, our landlord was looking for another long-term lease. We felt this might be risky, particularly with the current economic landscape of retail and some changes that had affected the neighborhood. Furthermore, the rent that the landlord was looking for was significantly more than what we had been paying. Initially, we were fortunate in negotiating a couple one-year leases. That is what kept us here these last couple of years.
The new tenant, Chase Bank, will take possession of 20 Mercer St on Jan 21. We thank our committed customers, this beautiful neighborhood, our fellow merchants and neighbors, and all of the music lovers and musicians that supported Easy Street Records at this location. We will miss all of you and cherish the memories forever.
We recently signed a new 15-year lease at our original store in West Seattle, where we will carry on the Easy Street tradition of great in-stores, yummy breakfasts, tasty vinyl, and overall, an excellent selection of music. We hope to see you there soon.
Forever grateful, Matt Vaughan and the 20 Mercer Crew