City sees changes in music retail as market shrinks

by Amy Kingsley

The business of independently purveying recorded music in Greensboro has undergone some seismic shifts over the past couple months.

The Record Exchange, a low-slung brick establishment featuring a wide array of media and the trickiest parking in town, closed June 6 after 26 years in business. Gate City Noise reopened last month in an annex of the Flying Anvil after pulling up stakes from its Tate Street digs almost a year ago. And a new management team is taking the reins at BB’s New & Used CDs in Quaker Village shopping center after 18 years of stewardship by Darryl Deitsch.

Part of the reason for the shuffle has been the widespread replacement of CDs purchased at record stores with MP3s that can be downloaded online. The demand is out there, owners say, but not to the extent that it once was.

‘“Business is pretty decent,’” said Duncan Dunn, one of the new owners of BB’s. ‘“But it’s not as strong as it was six years ago.’”

The Record Exchange, which belonged to a small chain of seven stores scattered around North Carolina and Virginia, closed when the landlord sold his property to Walgreen’s parent company, which will build a drug store on the site.

‘“We looked around for another place to house our store and we just couldn’t find anything suitable,’” said owner Don Rosenberg.

Andrew Dudek had already signed on to work at the Flying Anvil and sought a buyer for his record store. He couldn’t find one. Instead of shutting the store down, he decided to bring it with him to the new space.

‘“I was tired of being on Tate Street and it was getting too expensive so I thought this would be a way to cut down expenses and have a smaller store,’” Dudek said.

The only problem so far is decreased visibility. The Flying Anvil occupies an inconspicuous triangle of urban landscape bordered by Eugene, Elm and Lewis Streets.

‘“It was tough getting here,’” Dudek said. ‘“I was expecting to be opening by November or December, and I may or may not have lost a lot of my customer base.’”

In addition to having afternoon hours between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, Dudek mans the register during Flying Anvil events. But most of his new customers have been men who took a wrong turn on the way to the bathroom next door.

Dunn of BB’s, who will be partnering with Matt Rudzinski, said regular customers can expect few changes as the store switches hands.

‘“It will just be business as usual plus some,’” Duncan said.

Although Record Exchange has disappeared from Greensboro’s physical landscape, Rosenberg wanted to let people know they can still buy CDs from his company.

But they’ll have to do it online.

-Amy Kingsley