Posts Tagged ‘Hoodlums Customers’

New Career Choice: Not Construction

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Here’s a piece of advice: Never start a remodeling project while you are moving your record store into storage.\n\nYeah, check look you haven’t heard from me in about three weeks since the store closed. It’s not because I’m sitting around watching Cartoon Network.\n\n\n\nI’ve been framing, best viagra tadalafil roofing, doing concrete… and a whole cornucopia of vicious physical work in the eight zillion degree Valley heat.\n\nThis is the kind of work I haven’t taken on since back in my teenage days with the Ward County Highway Department (you want to talk about characters… that place was a reality show in itself).  Not exactly the kind of work I’m used to doing: Peddling music to you guys.\n\nI didn’t realize it, but those long days on the rural North Dakota roads must have been the motivation for being a retail geek in the first place (admittedly, I had Record Store Geek tendencies, but Budget Tapes and Records never had any openings).  Even then, while the work was hard, it was done in the relatively decent Nodak summers, where all we had to worry about was pterodactyl-sized mosquitos, not Africa-heat.\n\n(Hood Hat Tip: Before I go any further I gotta take my hat off to those of you that kick ass in this stuff every day.  Seriously boys and girls… you cats are tough as hell.  Insane, but tough.)\n\nEr, Not A Mover Either\n\nI may have just had an epiphany about construction, but I did realize that movers were insane long ago.\n\n\n\nWhy? Because I’m insane with empathy. I’ve lived in the Valley 25 years, and I’ve managed to move (or help family) in the summer about 16 times. I literally can’t seem to do it in the fall or winter.  I know the pain.\n\nThis time was no different.  A full week’s worth of dirt and sweat.\n\n(Hoodnote: While packing trucks and fixtures is relentless, the break down and clean up of all the little stuff might be worse).\n\nSo why move and remodel in the same two weeks?\n\nMy neighbor, Mark – that’s him  on the roof with my sons (they must not have read the signs about being on the site without a hard hat) – was ready to help me, and he had to do it start during the last week of August.\n\n(Hoodnote: Mark was a Hoodlums’ customer before we became friends and neighbors. Both he and his wife were official Music Junkies at the ASU store) \n\nAnyway, in addition to being cool enough to help a neighbor, Mark is really awesome at construction, and I’m totally green. Plus, he’s a lot cheaper than a general contractor.\n\nSo basically, I had no choice.\n\n\n\nLuckily, the double duty only last about ten days… and my new boss didn’t work me more than ten hours a day on the site after that.\n\nIt’s Lookin’ Good Though\n\nThe cool thing about that kind of hard, manual work is that you can really stand back and see the results of what you’ve done. Check it out. What used to be outdoor is now totally waterproof and enclosed.  That’s my daughter getting in the action (she must not have seen the \”wear shoes on the site\” sign).\n\n\n\nCool, huh?  As a hobby maybe, just not enough to beat up my middle-aged body on a daily basis.\n\nSo while I’m not entirely ready to reveal which direction Hoodlums will go (soon, my friend, soon), I know this much:\n\nWe aren’t going to be a construction company.\n\nHope all is well with you. Stay tuned…\n\n(Note: We do have to finish the job when Mark gets back in town, so wish me luck.)\n\n 

If Someone Had to be the Last Customer…

Saturday, August 25th, 2012

I managed to keep my emotions in check until the last hour or two.\n\nWhen Ray called from Flagstaff, mind viagra it was about 6:30. He said he wanted to make sure we know that he’s been all over the state shopping at record stores throughout his life… and that we were by far the best he’d ever visited. If you know how deep into music Ray is – then you know that’s some high praise from a confirmed record store geek.\n\nTo our delight and honor, generic cialis purchase we’ve been getting a lot of high praise and feedback in the past five weeks since we announced our \”hibernation\”, and as I’ve said in our videos and emails, it’s means the world to us. But we’ve had tons of work to do, and I’ve been able to thank people and move on without letting the emotion well up.\n\nMaybe it’s because we only had a few hours of business left, and there wasn’t much else we could do to sell product or help customers (since we successfully sold off an enormous amount of our stuff and couldn’t do special orders), but as I started to say \”that means a lot to us\”… I had to stop and take one of those \”slow the emotion\” breaths.\n\nThen came Emma.\n\n\n\nEmma is one of our very best customer-friends (that’s her up there with Andy). She is the youngest of three sisters, all of whom have a passion for music, all of whom have shopped at Hoodlums since our ASU days.\n\nShe applied for a job as a hoodlum back in 2007, and made it to the finalists before we chose Andy (also pictured), the last hired hoodlum standing. The ASU talent pool was deep, and we were always lucky enough to get a ton of qualified applicants, so we told Emma that although she was ultra-qualified (plus she did great on the test), we just didn’t need that many people. We promised we would keep her \”in mind\”, but unfortunately, the danger of interviewing good customers and not hiring them often means they stop shopping at the store, so we figured we may not see her again.\n\nNot Emma. She just kept shopping.\n\nWhen we re-opened (after the M.U. fire) in 2008, there was Emma (along with her sisters, Mimi and Alison) at the grand opening. I asked her if she’s still like to be considered if we eventually hired again, and she responded with an enthusiastic \”yes\”. She showed up for nearly all of our in-stores, our art shows, even the movie screenings (the picture is from our 13th birthday party). Every time I’d ask her if she was still available, hoping we’d grow slowly but surely, and she’d still say \”yes\”.\n\nBut we never hired. While we found a way to pay our bills and make it through the lease, the economy and the industry stayed stagnant, and we just didn’t grow. We found ways to streamline and improve our efficiency, to get creative and cover each other’s vacations and appointments, and we simply didn’t need anyone.\n\nBut Emma kept shopping.\n\nEarlier in my final shift, I had looked up to see Mimi, Emma’s sister (that’s her over there), come through the door. Mimi has been an equally awesome Hoodlums’ supporter, and she had that same \”sorry to hear about your closing\” look that most of our regulars were wearing. We hugged each other, and I told her to stay tuned (like I told so many of you). When I was ringing her up, I asked about Emma. She said she thought she’d be in later.\n\nA hour or so later, in walked Alison (I’m sure there’s an Alison picture somewhere, but I can’t find it), and the scene repeated itself. Same look, same well-wishes, same \”thanks for your amazing support\”.\n\nBut still no Emma.\n\nThen, with less than an hour to go, shortly after Ray had called, in walked Emma.\n\nDon’t get me wrong, it’s not like I didn’t think she’d make it. As I said, she’s a great kid, and she’s been one of our most reliable supporters, so I was prepared to see her. Plus, as I said, I had talked to many customer-friends of equal emotional status to me without losing my composure, so I didn’t think it would be over-emotional.\n\nBut for whatever reason, seeing Emma was about all the ol’ Record Store Geek could take.\n\nI made it through the hug, but I had to head to the backroom so I didn’t lose my composure in front of the customers. Upon discovering my old pal and pseudo-employee, Sari, back there, I had to suck it up big time to keep from out-and-out crying (well, I probably didn’t have to, but my North Dakota upbringing manifests itself in a few macho hang-ups).\n\nIt turns out that even though my outlook is positive, even though both Kristian and I feel like the store did not fail, after putting every bit of my heart and soul into building up \”my baby\”, it was impossible not to be a little bit sad about shutting her down.\n\nEventually, I made it back out to the floor. I was OK from that point on.\n\nSomewhere after 8PM, I put on Paul Pena’s \”New Train\”, the first album played when we opened (see the post Thank God It’s Finally Opening Day) and the final album I wanted to play as we closed (see the Last Song Facebook post from last week) and locked the door. Emma was still in the store.\n\nSo I rang up Emma. Our final customer of the store.\n\nIt could have been anybody that happened to be last.  It could have been any number of classic customers that set me off.  The last day (and the entire run) was filled with so many loyal customers. So many friends. So many tremendous conversations, memories, and relationships. I could write stories about so many of you (and you never know, I just might).\n\nBut someone had to be the final customer.\n\nI’m glad it was Emma.

Top 10s of 2011 – Hoodlums’ Customers

Friday, January 27th, 2012

We threw a little contest and asked for Top Ten lists from our customers.  We didn’t get a ton of responses, viagra canada viagra sale but the customers who sent are some of our very best.  An eclectic bunch of true music fans that buy lots and aren’t afraid to experiment.\n\nWe cut and pasted exactly what they sent us, thumb health including comments and extra picks.  We thank all of you that participated.\n\nMicheal Pang\n\n1. Jay Z & Kanye West – Watch the Throne\n2. Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx – We’re New Here\n3. St. Vincent – Strange Mercy\n4. They Might Be Giants – Join Us\n5. Charles Bradley – No Time for Dreaming\n6. The Beach Boys – The Smile Sessions\n7. TV on the Radio – Nine Types of Light\n8. Fucked Up – David Comes to Life\n9. Little Dragon – Ritual Union\n10. Danny Brown – XXX\n\nAnthony Martinez\n\n1. Bon Iver, Bon Iver\n2. Strange Mercy, St. Vincent\n3. Watch The Throne, Jay-Z & Kanye West\n4. Wounded Rhymes, Lykke Li\n5. The Big Roar, The Joy Formidable\n6. Elsie, The Horrible Crowes\n7. Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming, M83\n8. The King Of Limbs, Radiohead\n9. Helplessness Blues, Fleet Foxes\n10. Metals, Feist\n\nMimi Ringness\n\nBest Albums (Defined here as: the albums that I bought and loved, not including those which I sadly missed and/or did not purchase and listen to endlessly.)\n\n1. Oh Fortune, Dan Mangan 2. We Are The Tide, Blind Pilot 3. The Rip Tide, Beirut 4. Codes And Keys, Death Cab For Cutie 5. Mine Is Yours, Cold War Kids 6. 12 Desperate Straight Lines, Telekinesis! 7. 21, Adele 8. Actor-Castor, Generationals 9. It’s A Corporate World, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. 10. No Color, The Dodos\n\nBest Songs (Defined here as: the songs that I played over and over and over again.)\n\n“Rolling In The Deep,” Adele “Oh Fortune,” Dan Mangan “Get It Out,” Blind Pilot “Bulldozer,” Cold War Kids “What About Us,” Handsome Furs “Come Closer,” Miles Kane “Woods,” The Rosebuds “Gotta Get It Right Now,” Telekinesis! “Black Night,” The Dodos “Some Boys,” Death Cab For Cutie “Goshen,” Beirut “Ash/Black Veil,” Apparat “Abducted,” Cults “I Know You Don’t Love Me,” Peter Bjorn & John “Ritual Union,” Little Dragon “Simple Girl,” Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. “Truth,” Alexander\n\nDeals of 2011 (Defined here as: ultimate prices that exemplify Hoodlums)\n\nDVDs: Stranger Than Fiction, $3.47 Sky Captain And The World Of Tomorrow, $3.99 Strangers On A Train, $5.21\n\nCDs: Gimme Some, Peter Bjorn & John, $2.78 with a $10 gift certificate It’s A Corporate World, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr., $5.39 Sigh No More, Mumford & Sons, $6.95 Loud Planes Fly Low, The Rosebuds, $7.99\n\nVinyl: “Dirty Thing” 7”, Telekinesis! $5.39\n\nPosters: Useless Creatures, Andrew Bird, $8.69\n\nEmma Ringness\n\nAlbums\n\n1) King of Limbs, Radiohead\n\nIt’s Radiohead. Seriously, enough said.\n\n2) Blood Pressures, The Kills\n\nI ignored The Kills for years, until I became hooked on “Future Starts Slow.” The album doesn’t disappoint. You can hear their experience in the songwriting without any loss of spark…or gritty sexiness.\n\n3) Suck It and See, Arctic Monkeys\n\nWith the exception of the singles, which I personally feel are the weakest tracks on the album, the Arctic Monkeys deliver their strongest songwriting since Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not. They are older and wiser, and while this experience might have made them a little jaded, it has certainly not made them redundant.\n\n4) Codes and Keys, Death Cab for Cutie\n\nI was pretty indifferent to Codes and Keys from what I heard before the album was released, but I, like many people, forgot that Death Cab are some of the modern masters of the album format. It must be heard as a whole.\n\n5) El Camino, The Black Keys\n\nThis one made it on suuuuper last minute, but I’m pretty sure it’s one I’ll be spinning heavily in 2012. My early assessment? Better than Brothers. No one hate me for that, please.\n\nHonorable Mention: Angles, The Strokes\n\nI feel like Angles—and all The Strokes albums since 2002, for that matter—gets disregarded by people comparing it to Is This It. Understandable, but not fair.\n\nSongs\n\nHere are my favorite songs from 2011 that aren’t on my top five albums. Note: the version of “Piledriver Waltz” on this list is different from the one on Suck It and See.\n\n“Ten-Twenty-Ten,” Generationals (Actor-Caster)\n“Civilian,” Wye Oak (Civilian)\n“Techno Fan (acoustic),” The Wombats (non-album track)\n“Piledriver Waltz,” Arctic Monkeys (Submarine OST)\n“Cruel,” St. Vincent (Strange Mercy)\n\nJeremy P.\n\n1. Steven Wilson – Grace For Drowning\n2. Abigail Washburn – City of Refuge\n3. Ma/Edgar/Duncan/Thile – The Goat Rodeo Sessions\n4. The Decemberists – The King Is Dead\n5. Laura Marling – A Creature I Don’t Know\n6. Okkervil River – I Am Very Far\n7. Steve Earle – I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive\n8. Pain of Salvation – Road Salt Two\n9. Bela Fleck and the Flecktones – Rocket Science\n10. The Roots – Undun\n\nConnor Descheemaker\n\n10. The Mountain Goats-All Eternals Deck\n9. Chuck Ragan-Covering Ground\n8. Frank Turner-England Keep My Bones\n7. Andrew Jackson Jihad-Knife Man\n6. Explosions In the Sky-Take Care, Take Care, Take Care\n5. Fucked Up-David Comes To Life\n4. Doomtree-No Kings\n3. The Roots-undun.\n2. The World/Inferno Friendship Society-The Anarchy & The Ecstasy\n1. Bomb The Music Industry!-Vacation\n\nMitch Goyette\n\n1. Fair to Midland – Arrows and Anchors\n2. The Dear Hunter – The Color Spectrum\n3. Puscifer – Conditions of My Parole\n4. Hotel of the Laughing Tree – Terror and Everything After\n5. Dredg – Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy\n6. Opeth – Heritage\n7. Beth Hart and Joe Bonamassa – Don’t Explain\n8. Deep Dark Robot – 8 Songs About a Girl\n9. Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math\n10. Frank Turner – England Take My Bones\n\nAnd because 10 isn’t enough, here’s few (er, another 10) honorable mentions that certainly could be in the top 10 if I was in a different mood today:\n\nRedemption – This Mortal Coil\nSymphony X – Iconoclast\nAmplifier – The Octopus\nThe Decemberists – The King is Dead / Long Live the King (yeah, cheating and putting the two together)\nLong Distance Calling – s/t\nJeff Martin – The Ground Cries Out\nThree – The Ghost You Gave to Me\nErland and the Carnival – Nightingale\nRiverside – Memories in My Head\nJolly – The Audio Guide to Happiness Pt. 1\n\nTammy H.\n\n1. Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care\n2. Youth Lagoon – The Year of Hibernation\n3. Panda Bear – Tomboy\n4. Beirut – The Rip Tide\n5. Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital\n6. Tapes n Tapes – Outside\n7. Stephen Malkmus & the Jicks – Mirror Traffic\n8. The War On Drugs – Slave Ambient\n9. Cut Copy – Zonoscope\n10. Okkervil River – I Am Very Far\n11. Wye Oak – Civilian\n12. Yuck – Yuck\n13. Akron/Family – S/T II: The Birth and Cosmic Journey of Shinju TNT\n14. The Strokes – Angles\n15. Portugal. The Man – In the Mountain In the Clouds

Why I Own a Record Store – Customer Friends

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

One of the things that I love most about owning a neighborhood record store is making friends out of customers.  Here’s how it’s done:\n\nYou start helping a guy or girl by asking questions, viagra sale stuff and you find out some info about them.  You throw out some info of your own (usually more rambling than is necessary in my case), and they find out a bit about you.\n\nUsually it’s music-based info, but you can find out a lot about a person by talking music.  Hell, ever since I was a wee pup, one of the first things I did when I got to know someone was take a look at their record collection (or their CD collection, although I must note that I’ve never taken a look at someone’s hard drive… but that’s another blog).  After all these years of record store geekdom, I’m like Sherlock Holmes in terms of tying personality traits to musical tastes.\n\nAnyway, if a person likes your service, and your conversation, or whatever, they come again.  And again.  And you bullshit some more with each visit.  You discuss the last purchases and play some music.  Maybe the guy burns you something to listen to… or you bring something in from your house… and maybe you talk a little politics or sports.. and the next thing you know, a bond is built.  A person that was originally just some dude (or dudette) that walked in to check out the store with the MUSIC sign has become your friend.\n\nSince I write once in a while, and make videos more than I probably should, I sometimes think in terms of \”you should write about this\” or \”you should do a video about that\”.  When our old customer-turned-friend Ben Erlandson graduated (see pic, congrats Ben) and headed for Northern Cal last year after shopping at our store for almost the duration of our existence, I decided to write a blog about how Ben had grown into a friend.  How much he had gotten to know all of the main hoodlums, how we had a nickname for him (based on biking accidents), how much fun we had interacting with him online, and how much we were going to miss him… most of all how that missing went beyond the loss of a great customer.\n\nA Tribute To One of Our All-time Champion Customer-Friends\n\nSo here I am with that my \”customer-friend\” blog, but it isn’t about Ben.  Sorry pal, but there’s a good reason for it:\n\nA few months before Ben left, I had already put another \”I should do this customer video\” thought in progress.  I had the ol’ video camera in the store so I could record Record Store Geek: The Reason It’s Always Me in the Videos, and one our great customer-friends, Craig Pinson, happened to be in the store shopping (and bullshitting about music). In addition to helping spice up the RSG video with his fantastic and supportive laughter, he allowed me to turn the camera on him to make a testimonial about our special order service at Hoodlums. I told him I was going to edit it and put it up on the website next to our special order info.  He loved it.\n\nOf course, I didn’t get on it right away… meaning as I begin to write this it still isn’t on the website.\n\nCraig kept coming, and the friendship continued to grow.  Not only with me, but with Kristian and Andy as well.  Every once in a while, I’d say \”Eventually I’m going to get that special order video up\”, and he’d say \”no biggie\” or something to that extent.  It wasn’t like it was a big deal, and in our relationship the most important thing was the music.  This is the Savoy Brown you should try next.  When is that deluxe version of Derek and the Dominoes coming out?  The new Drive-By Truckers is excellent, as is the Jason Isbell.\n\nWhen the extra Elton John/Leon Russell tickets showed up on the day of the show, we knew who to call.  And Craig (and his wife Mary) were ready.  We were able to hook them up, and we all went to the whatever-it’s-called Arena to verify that Elton can still jam (he can).\n\nCraig ordered the Vanilla Fudge box set through Hoodlums, even though it was a Rhino Handmade product (just like the Delaney and Bonnie in the video), and when we called to tell him it was in, he apologized and said he was laid up and that it might be a while.  We assured him it was no big deal and we told him we hoped he would get feeling better.  It took about a month, maybe longer, but eventually he came in and grabbed his stuff.\n\nHe said he was feeling better.  We talked for a long time.  About his purchases.  About the music.  And Craig did what he always would do… he’d finish up the discussion, and he’d say he had to go, and then somehow, someway, the thought of music would take over… and Craig would stop… and fire up the discussion again.  I’d give him shit about it (no, not you, Steve) and we’d laugh.  Eventually he would leave, awesome music in hand.\n\nThen in early May, I received a call from Kristian.  Craig’s wife had called to tell us that Craig had passed away during the night.  She explained to Kristian that Hoodlums had played such a big part in Craig’s life, had provided him with so much enjoyment, that she felt we needed to be told.\n\nShe knew that we were friends.  Through Hoodlums… but mostly, through the music.\n\nKristian and I were both able to attend Craig’s funeral.  During the service, Craig’s love of music was mentioned prominently, along with his awesome kindness, his loving manner, and his terrific laugh.  On the way home, we talked about how lucky we were that this was the first funeral we’ve had to attend during our 13 years of building relationships with customers, and how much we were going to miss our friend Craig.\n\nI knew the video was at home in my Mac.  I knew I had to at least finish it and post it.  In honor of our friend, Craig.  I checked with Mary, and she said it was O.K.\n

So here’s to ya Craig.  I added Derek and the Dominoes for the music, and I listened to it while writing this.  Lord knows I’ll think about ya every time it plays.

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