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Another record store to close its doors

Car City Records open until Sept. 30

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 29, 2011

 R&B artist Jeron Ronn of Detroit looks through albums at Car City Records Aug. 23. The store, which has sold music in St. Clair Shores for about 30 years, will close Sept. 30.

R&B artist Jeron Ronn of Detroit looks through albums at Car City Records Aug. 23. The store, which has sold music in St. Clair Shores for about 30 years, will close Sept. 30.

Photo by Edward Osinski

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The customers came not just from Macomb County, but also from downtown and downriver.

But when Car City Records closes its doors Sept. 30, the devoted will have to find another way to get their vinyl records, CDs, and other music memorabilia and accessories.

The store is “pretty heavily focused” on used records, both LPs and 45s, said manager Dion Fischer, who has been running the store with owner Robert Setlik since about the time Setlik moved to Valparaiso, Ind., four years ago.

“It’s really been just about music,” Fischer said. “Used CDs were, at a time, a really big part of the business. We’ve never lost our focus on vinyl — it’s always been No. 1 for us — we have 50,000 LPs or more in the store.”

The store downsized about eight years ago, but records kept it going. And between walk-in customers, word of mouth and “staunch supporters … the store has been hanging in there just fine for all these years.”

Setlik had the store for about 22 years, Fischer said.

“We think the ‘Car City’ name has been around for 30 years,” he said. “They started on Jefferson (were) called Car City Classics (and) moved up here (on Harper) after a couple of years.”

Tom Stark lives in Taylor now, but he used to stop in Car City Records often back when he lived in St. Clair Shores.

“It’s getting hard to find obscure music,” he said. “To actually come to a store and hold a CD, look at it, it’s the way I was raised.”

He said many brick-and-mortar music stores are falling by the wayside as the music world goes online.

“They have to pay rent, taxes; there’s no way they can compete,” he said.

Fisher said customers got worried when Record Time on Gratiot in Roseville closed in February.

“We’d have a sale and people would be like, ‘You’re not closing, are you?’” he said. “It’s like, inevitable. Nothing lasts forever.”

Fischer said Setlik has been coming back to check on the store about twice a month since moving.

“It’s really about the fact that Bob moved away, and he’s 70 and he’s grown tired of going back and forth,” he said.

Fischer has his own collection of 6,000-7,000 records. “That’s why I’ve stuck in so long with Bob. I feel it’s an important thing. Like books, it’s a tactile thing. Records are like that; they sound better, they look better.”

He’s been with the store for about a decade, and as a musician, he enjoyed working for Setlik.

“Bob has always hired musicians,” he said. “It’s sort of a support system where you could leave, go on the road for a month or so, and come back and have your job.”

There have been a lot of familiar faces coming back as the store says its two-month-long good-bye.

“The customers in here tend to be real friendly,” Fischer said.

One regular is William Billadeau of Eastpointe, who’s made the trip to Car City Records on a regular basis for the past 20 years for the “variety, prices and just always good selection.”

“I’ve been a vinyl collector. They’re on the few stores that stayed with it,” he said. “You just don’t see it anymore. It’s still a record store.”

Maria Parker of Macomb Township agreed that she loves the sound of a vinyl record.

“We have a ton of albums ourselves,” said Parker, who grew up in St. Clair Shores. “I like listening to the albums on the turntable. It’s nostalgic.”

And Scott Keller of Detroit said news of the closing “stinks.”

“I usually go every weekend” to check out records at different stores, he said. “Not too many left to check out now.”

The store’s last day is Sept. 30, and there are discounts until then as Setlik sells off the stock. Car City Records is located at 21918 Harper Ave. For more information, call (586) 775-4770 or visit the Car City Records Facebook page.

 

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