It was 40 years ago this month. I had this idea that I could sell the records I was playing on the radio to unfulfilled customers. What was I thinking? I was so excited that I spent that night compiling a to-do list and didn’t go sleep till after 5AM … and so was the beginning of All That Music & Video. Back then, it was Nostalgia Place, a small space at Montana & Raynolds in the middle of my childhood neighborhood.
Most of you know the story, already well documented many times over the years. Many of you are at least a small part of this amazing journey.
The early years were an adventure. While I spent very little on myself, any profits were plowed back into growth.
When you start out with 500 used records and an idea, well, there were doubters and a healthy skepticism. The truth is, I’ve been hearing of our imminent demise since the very beginning, which is why it is so rewarding to be able to reach the 40-year mark.
For me, I would not be denied. I was once quoted as saying, “I’m too stubborn to fail.”
I was lucky to escape the drudgery of an ordinary, unfulfilling job. When you love music and records, and combine that with a passion to serve people, it’s never really a job. The best part has been having the pleasure of meeting thousands of you, most of which have been one-time or periodic encounters. Many of you have become lifelong friends. Some have passed on. I am so appreciative for all those valued relationships.
The landscape and transformation of the retail-media environment has been one of non-stop evolution and change over the last four decades. We have dealt with the advent of big-box stores, CD burners, MP3 files, downloading, and streaming, not to mention 9/11 and, now, a pandemic. Absolutely not a career choice for the faint-of-heart or someone with a low tolerance for instability.
Through it all, we’ve adapted and adjusted.
40 years later, it would appear that all of that effort and endurance paid off. As the digital revolution took hold, mainstream music sellers went out of business. At the same time, a large sector of consumers couldn’t relate to the absence of tangible, physical product for their entertainment and music needs. To put it simply, we bridged this gap.
Which brings us to today.
The new Fountains at Farah location has afforded us a fresh, new platform and reaffirmed our belief that the demand for physical media is growing and strong. Ironically, the pandemic and first shutdown in March, was an unexpected blessing. It allowed us to stop, evaluate, reset and restructure the operation.
The age-old adage “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” applies here, as sales and support for our business model have been beyond expectations — this in the middle of a pandemic. Despite the continuing cloud of the Coronavirus crisis, our sales remain vibrant. I’m convinced that when we come out of this strange period, we’re going to explode. Next year, look for exciting announcements regarding our future, expansion and continued growth.
To think it all started 40 years ago with a desire to sell used records to people who loved music as much as I do. If this is a success story, it belongs to you, our community. I am grateful that I could be the steward of this remarkable small business. What a ride! The story continues. We look forward to writing the next chapters with you.