Hearne: The Wasted Effort to Save Streetside Records in Westport

There’s an effort underway to prevent Streetside Records in Westport from closing…

Mum’s the word apparently. When I breezed through this past weekend a pair of Streetside employees urged me to keep up with the store’s status via its Facebook page. All the while alluding in suggestive tones that a local ownership group was in the offing.

Not Streetside’s big, bad, evil corporate owners who plan to close it in January.

But kinder, gentler folks with the best interests of Kansas City and Midtown at heart. People who presumably don’t mind parting company with their hard earned cash in a money-losing business in a dying industry.

And while that (or those) saviors may yet be found, I’ve got news for the Save Streetside crowd; the good guys have already come and gone.

Former Pennylane owner Hal Brody dumped the music store off on his hated rival Streetside in the late 1980s and tried to include the money-losing Pitch at the time, too. But guess what?

Streetside didn’t even want it. Just like Brody no longer wanted the music store he’d founded.

Brody saw the handwriting on the wall for local music merchandising. With large chains like Best Buy using CDs as door busters and loss leaders, profits were fading fast. So he dumped it off on Streetside owner Jack Brozman, a former business partner with whom Brody had had a nasty falling out.

Brody made the correct call.

Streetside flourished for a bit but couldn’t compete with the Best Buys and Amazons and was forced to begin selling used merchandise, going into competition with struggling, nearby retailers like the Music Exchange.

That kept the wolf away from the door but not for long.

Somewhere along the way I contaced Brozman for a story about Streetside and he prevailed on me to have a sympathetic ear. After all, they were the good guys, fighting the good fight against the chains. Trying to survive while keeping it hip and local.

Then in 2002 Brozman more-or-less dumped Streetside off by "merging" with a small music retailer called CD World.

Interestingly, that followed the 2001 launch of sure-fire record store killer – the iPod.

The bottom line: The good guys have come and gone where Streetside is concerned.

They tried.

If anybody could save Streetside, the best candidate might be Brody. Who at last check continued to own the real estate on which the store rests. He thought the better of the music store proposition 20 years back but you never know what someone might do in their old age.

So like the Streetside employees say, keep watching that Facebook page and praying for a miracle. Just don’t hold your breath.

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2 Responses to Hearne: The Wasted Effort to Save Streetside Records in Westport

  1. mark x says:

    Hey, there’s an effort underway to …
    … save the Buggy Whip industry.

    Oops, never-mind, wrong century …

    Mark X

  2. christian says:

    A deal has pretty much been sealed w/ Hal Brody. Details to come. A new INDEPENDENT record store! So go ahead and hold your breath.

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