Sad news came in the form of an anonymous tip this morning, and a call to Cellophane Square manager Steve Romano confirmed that the venerable University District record store will close its doors forever by the end of the month. "We've foreseen this coming for a while, but we made a pact to ride it out until the end," says Romano, an employee of 13 years. "It was really the economy—at the beginning of this year, the downfall was more precipitous than anyone expected, including the owners."
When the landlord wouldn't negotiate terms for the space, Romano says, they basically knew things would soon come to an end. "We could keep trying to nickle and dime it, or give up the fight."
The University District location was the last of what was once a chain of four stores around the Northwest, and it has employed many Seattle music-scene luminaries— Barrett Wilke (Kinski), Dann Gallucci (Murder City Devils, Modest Mouse, A Gun Called Tension), Kim Warnick (the Fastbacks), and The Stranger's own emeritus Sean Nelson.
The original four locations were bought during the dot-com boom by Djangos, an online CD retailer that "made nothing but terrible decisions and basically brought down almost every record store they bought," explained Romano.
He says that Everyday Music then bought Cellophane Square out of the Djangos bankruptcy and that they were "basically the coolest owners out of all three if you really want to know the truth."
Of the longtime employees, Romano says, "We're just a bunch of music dorks, and we had a great time while it lasted. We're all just fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants kinds of people. We'll figure out [what to do next]."
I'm going there to buy a record tomorrow.
This story has been updated since its original publication.