I was a frequent buyer of Tower Records until this chain collapsed, and it’s only been missing since 2006. I’ve been to the Virgin Megastores in San Francisco and New York quite often, and they have closed in 2009. It doesn’t seem that long. since.
But right now I’m in San Diego for Qualcomm’s Uplinq conference, and when I saw a Sam Goody music store in the same complex as my hotel, I walked around inside – and boy, I did what I thought was something another era.
Until I found out, I wasn’t sure Sam Goody (founded in New York City in the 1950s by Samuel Gutowitz) still existed. Apparently even Sam Goody doesn’t know if Sam Goody still exists: Wikipedia (which refers to string in the past tense) says it is owned by Trans World Entertainment, which also owns FYE, the last bastion of major shopping mall music stores. But the company apparently converted most of the remaining Goody stores to FYE in 2008 and doesn’t even mention the chain on its company website. There is no place like SamGoody.com either.
But this San Diego Sam Goody refuses to recognize his own fate, like a Japanese soldier hiding somewhere on a Pacific island. (In this case, the island happens to be Horton Plaza, a sprawling open-air mall in the Gaslight District of San Diego.)
The Goody store is a close cousin of Tower Records and Virgin Megastores that I once found worthy of my time, but I almost forgot what they looked like and had to re-acclimate to the whole concept of a large retailer dealing mostly with records with stuff recorded on them. While visiting the place, I took blurry photos with my iPhone.
First of all, this Sam Goody still has a sizable vinyl section. I was excited to see it, although I shouldn’t have been shocked – even my local Best Buy is devoting more space to vinyl these days.
Goody also has… a blank tape section! (When was the last time I copied something to tape? The 1990s, although I have sometimes listened to tapes more recently than that.)
Also available in abundance: Zune cases.
There are, however, clear signs that we are in 2011 rather than 2006 or 1985. Like the Angry Birds department:
And the two – count them, two – the Justin Bieber sections. (One on each floor, each different and each one to visit absolutely!)
A good chunk of Goody’s floor space is now devoted to things that have nothing to do with music, movies, or related topics. Like the Waboba balls. (In the background, however, you’ll notice the Bob Marley lamps, which seem like a perfectly reasonable thing for Sam Goody to sell.)
The second floor of the Goody store is mostly devoted to DVDs and Blu-Rays, a surprisingly high percentage of which were cartoons. But there is also evidence that this place once consisted of Three floors of recorded media – an escalator that is now blocked by a poster of High School Musical 2.
Hey, I almost forgot: Sam Goody sells CDs. Not many of them – you might miss the section if you weren’t looking for it – but they’re there. The chain’s slogan used to be “Goody Got It”, but “Goody Probably Don’t Got It” would now be more appropriate. But I’m not sure if anyone cares at this point: while I saw people browsing the store while I was there, I’m not sure I spotted a single person walking through the store. watch recorded music.
Back in the days when I spent a lot of time in music stores, I saw the existence of an Easy Listening section as a sign of a joint being exploited by lazy minds – at least if it contained a lot of stuff that really should have been divided into sections. for oldies, vocals, soul, big band and other genres, as was often the case. Easy Listening was often synonymous with “Things We Don’t Mind”.
And yes, Goody has such an Easy Listening section. This was pretty much the only music section in the place with everything I wanted to buy except it was so poorly stocked it does not have have everything I would like to buy.
(Uh, isn’t that Justin Bieber looking at us in the upper left corner? I can’t escape him…)
I am fascinated that this Goody store managed to survive the death of major music retail chains in this country. I hope so; the employees I spoke to briefly were pleasant. But two stories of real estate in a large downtown San Diego mall can’t be cheap. how long are you giving him? Is there a way to turn a store like this into something with a future bright enough to last until, oh, 2020 or so?