It's no secret that the prognosis for independent record stores is bleak and only getting bleaker. But, for the hell of it, let's revisit the list of recent casualties on the Twin Cities scene. Two years ago, the renowned St. Paul metal mecca, the Root Cellar, shut down its storefront for an internet-only sales model. Last year, the venerable Let It Be Records followed suit and abandoned its downtown Minneapolis storefront. Earlier this month, Aardvark Records in northeast Minneapolis also went the virtual route. And now comes news that Know Name Records is folding its Dinkytown location.
According to longtime manager Chris Valenty, December 20 will be the last day for the store, which has operated in two different locations near the U of M for about a dozen years. "Students don't buy CDs anymore. We still get students in the store sometimes, but I think they're just looking at the CDs to figure out what they want to download," Valenty laments.
Know Name, which also sells smoking accessories, took another hit when a head shop opened nearby, according to Valenty. And then there is that other menace to the small time retailer: seemingly unsurmountable competition from big box outfits such as Target, Best Buy and Wal-Mart. "They sell CDs for less than we can buy them," Valenty says.
Valenty, who says he has no idea what he'll do next for work, plans to host a farewell bash some time next month. "I just want to have a good death party, you know, go out on a good note."
Know Name's other outlet, located at 6005 Portland Avenue in south Minneapolis, will remain open.