Thursday , October 1 2020

Another Store Down: Quixotic Mission Proves Quixotic

When Found Music opened on Wilshire in LA – “in the heart of the Miracle Mile” – they were brash, optimistic and funky but chic. Check out the opening message on the site:

    Buy some stuff from our store. If you don’t buy anything we’ll just go out of business within a few months and have gotten nowhere.

    The Store is at 5472 Wilshire Blvd across from the El Rey and down from the Conga Room.

    We serve beer from 6-8 Monday through Friday, typically bud in a can. It’s free. And we encourage brown bagging in your special alcoholic needs. If you don’t know how cool that is then go to the Viper and order the same. SIX Dollars. Free vs. Six multiplied by the amount of Bud it takes to accomplish your mission. HMM. That would be ZERO vs. $24 for the average person.

    We hope to support most events at the El Rey Theater. We are working with them to sell hard tickets to their events. Currently they are running a top notch business of ticket sales online. Check them out here. They are really good people and it is one of the best venues in town.

    We have parking. Use it when you visit US and save heartache. A little guy who works for the building keeps watch at night and gets to keep your car if you park there and go to the El Rey. I hope that never happens to you. He sells the cars in Mexico for $1000 even if its your moms Minivan worth $40,000. Our parking is behind the store in a spot that is clearly marked Americana Plaza. Use it and save heartache.

    We serve coffee in the morning until about 2PM (when morning ends IYKWIM). We don’t open until ten so were just going to miss the commuter crowd and hit the fabulously unemployed demographic bullseye.

    Andrea Lahue is our resident Artist for the time being. Her stuff rules and you should be sure to come by and check it and her out. It’s wonderous I tell you.

Now three years later, the tone is a bit different:

    Found Music Moves From The Miracle Mile
    Posted Wednesday, June 16, 2004

    Friends,

    It’s time for Found Music to move on. The situation for the public entity of Found Music – concert venue, new release store, used music buyer and neighborhood hangout is such that we cannot foresee ever being able to make any money or even sustain ourselves.

    Instead, we are moving to a private warehouse situation downtown and selling items mail order. The rent is one fifth what it cost to have a retail space, yet as we’ve told most of you, mail order has always been 70-80 percent of our business.

    We additionally are being hassled by the city of Los Angeles for everything from needing a pawnbrokers license to curbside retail licensing to sales tax: all issues that would go away in the private venture.

    We should be clear that at our Wilshire Blvd. Address we met all of our goals: we were in business for three years giving the site a fair opportunity to prove itself, we had 30 free concerts that wound up representing a who’s who of the Los Angeles music scene, and most importantly the opening of a little record store in the Miracle Mile allowed us to incubate no less that 4 completely lucrative businesses that you may not be able to see from the street, but are actually occupying nearly all of the owners time and resources.

    So as the trucks come up and take our racks and inventory to the new venture, we like you will always remember this great experiment for the simple fact that it never made sense: it was always there to represent the kind of business that communities everywhere are losing at too rapid a rate to the WalMarts and Best Buys of the world. But mom and pop style shops are structurally prevented from succeeding or even competing against the superstore behemoths. Urban environments are one of the last few vestiges that allow competition to exist in small pockets, but even there it’s not a fair fight. We offer up praise to our brethren at Aron’s, Benway, Sea Level and Amoeba as they carry on in the face of some real adversity in the next few years. That’s a tough fight and if you know us we’d rather be drinking Budweiser from a keg and watching a Vacation show.

Not sure about the Budweiser, but I sympathize with everything else – very sad and very telling, although I am not sure there is an answer, nor is there necessarily a bad guy. People go to the superstores for price and convenience – mom and pops have to find a niche that the big boys aren’t filling, as Amoeba and quite a few others have been doing thus far. It sounds like the rent was just too high on the old “Miracle Mile” to allow this kind of shop to sustain itself.

Best of luck in the label and mail order endeavors.

About Eric Olsen

Career media professional and serial entrepreneur Eric Olsen flung himself into the paranormal world in 2012, creating the America's Most Haunted brand and co-authoring the award-winning America's Most Haunted book, published by Berkley/Penguin in Sept, 2014. Olsen is co-host of the nationally syndicated broadcast and Internet radio talk show After Hours AM; his entertaining and informative America's Most Haunted website and social media outlets are must-reads: [email protected], Facebook.com/amhaunted, Pinterest America's Most Haunted. Olsen is also guitarist/singer for popular and wildly eclectic Cleveland cover band The Props.

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