The Amoeba Music’s over at Sunset and Vine. The famed record store announced last year that is moving and said in February that its a new location would be just a few blocks up and over in Hollywood. The move was set for the fall, and a summerlong sendoff was planned — then the coronavirus crisis hit.
Amoeba closed last month after the city and state governments issued stay-at-home orders. And today the vinyl haven’s owners said its days at 6400 Sunset Blvd., the store’s home since 2001, are over.
“This is heartbreaking for us.,” Amoeba’s owners said in a statement today (read it in full below). “We never envisioned not being able to give the store the send-off it deserves, to give you all a chance to say goodbye.”
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The LA City Council voted in June to approve a zoning change that will allow a 26-story complex to go up on the current Amoeba site in Hollywood. The store is moving to a slightly smaller ground-level space at Hollywood Boulevard and Argyle Avenue, next to the Fonda Theatre. It plans to open at 6200 Hollywood Blvd. sometime after Labor Day.
But the days of hauling your old vinyl, CDs and DVDs up from that tiny underground parking lot to trade them for cash or credit are a memory.
Here is Amoeba’s full statement:
The massive impact from the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the closure of our iconic Hollywood location at 6400 Sunset Blvd. With no reasonably foreseeable opportunity to re-open in our current location, we are instead focusing on hopefully opening in the fall in our previously announced new home at 6200 Hollywood Blvd. This situation has been forced on all of us, and we feel this decision is the most responsible and practical one.
This is heartbreaking for us. We never envisioned not being able to give the store the send-off it deserves, to give you all a chance to say goodbye. We had so many events planned to celebrate our history at 6400 Sunset! But we are facing too many mitigating circumstances that simply won’t allow for it.
These are three factors that figured heavily into our decision:
1) A consortium of Governors, including California, has stated that the most likely businesses to open first upon the lifting of ‘safer at home’ orders (which are still undetermined, but won’t be soon) will be those that are deemed “essential” followed by “low risk” sites. While, of course, we all know music is “essential,” we respect that under the current circumstances music retail is not. Our store sees over a million customers each year, making us a higher-risk environment during this pandemic than most. Thus, it is increasingly clear to us that it is highly unlikely we will be allowed to open this summer.
2) In the improbable event that we were able to open at some point this summer, we would be asking a staff of 200+ to come into a very public-facing environment, where customer interactions are frequent (even with far fewer customers), and handling shared product in a shared space is the nature of the business. We don’t want to put the staff or our customers potentially at risk and sitting out the summer allows us to ensure everyone’s health and safety.
3) With our energy focused on the new store, we are hopeful we can get open earlier than originally expected. We will have more time and resources available to manage this move and get the new Amoeba ready for prime time before our initial projections, and hopefully in line with a return to some degree of “normalcy” within our community. We will also return our focus over the summer to getting Amoeba.com updated with more used and collectible pieces to serve as a bridge to the new store opening.
We have to move in the fall and there are timelines and tasks involved in making that happen that were set into motion long before COVID-19. If we don’t focus on getting the new store ready for the fall opening, the hard reality is we may never open again anywhere.
There are so many unknowns and uncertainties for a business like ours. The only thing we do know for certain is that we want to survive. We want to be there for our amazing customers and our incredible staff long after this pandemic disappears. The only way we can keep Amoeba Hollywood alive in the long run is to make this difficult decision now.
Thank you all for your incredible support and patronage. We have the best customers in the world, as evidenced by the tremendous outpouring of support for our GoFundMe. Your generosity is going to help cover health care for our employees at all three stores, and generally help Amoeba continue while we all must remain closed.
We miss you all and cannot wait until we can be together again.
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