July 25, 2014 |

Internet killed the record store

Creative Leisure to close after nearly 20 years

The death of Havre's record store was announced this week, ending an almost two-decade run.

Eric Seidle
Rick Linie, a 19-year employee and a pillar in the Havre music scene stands next to the vinyl section in Creative Leisure which will be shutting its doors Sept. 30 after nearly 20 years in business. Linie says a combination of online services including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Pandora led to a steady decline in the store\'s sales.

Rick Linie, manager of Creative Leisure, said the record, movie rental, CD and book store will be closing Sept. 30 at the latest.

The store's merchandise will be liquidated - 50 percent off books and 25 percent off everything else - a little under cost, Linie said.

The space is already rented out. A quilt store and Henny Penny Cupcakes are slated to move into the space once the posters are taken down.

"It's been a struggle for the last couple of years," Linie said. "It's not any one thing - it's everything from Pandora, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon, Redbox - it just continues to get worse."

Linie gave the example of Amazon Prime beginning a special deal where when one subscribes to the service, they can stream a million songs for free.

"How do you fight free?" Linie said. "You do not. You lose every time to free."

The decision to close the business was made about a month ago after Linie and owner Mike Hamilton looked at their sales figures and decided enough was enough.

"It's been relentless. That pie just gets bit into smaller and smaller pieces. When everything takes a bite, all that's left is crumbs," Linie said. "We just can't do it anymore."

Linie has been in the record business for 36 years and this one marks the last, he said. When Hamilton opened the store, Linie moved back to Havre from Portland a year later to help with the record store.

In November, the store would have had its 20-year anniversary.

Linie said the past week since the announcement has been rough.

"It has been an emotional week," Linie said. "We've all cried a lot. The customers that we do have really like us. Lots of them we've had forever, but it just can't be anymore."

Linie said he thinks the store may have made it if it were in a bigger town, like Billings or Great Falls, but the store cannot survive in a town of fewer than 10,000 where customers are taken away by the Internet and digital distributors.

"I hope that one thing that comes out of this is people will realize that if there's a small, independent store in town that they like, they need to support that business because, otherwise, they're going to go away like we are," Linie said. " ... There is not going to be anything if they don't support the local people."

Reader Comments

(11)

aimprez59521 writes:

What a sad thing to see.Another biseness gone. I wish you the best Rick in whatever the future brings to you. And I am glad I got to meet you.

jammer writes:

What a loss! Rick and Mike are the town's foremost movie and music experts, as well as always helpful and personable. I'm sad and will miss them and the business. Good luck guys!

Dontblameus writes:

With all due respect, don't blame the customer. As the times change, businesses must change too. Movie stores are dead. Rent out video games instead. Increase your book selection (it's kind of bland, no offense)...add a coffee shop (we need a nice place downtown to drink coffee and read). Add some CCG or other specialized, unique games. Don't blame the customer bc you haven't changed an outdated business plan. Change it up.

ZoesPapa writes:

It is a sad day! I will miss you guys and your store.

SadInHavre writes:

This is so sad. Even at Christmas I shop in Havre. Soon the only store will be Wal-Mart then the prices will be so far jacked up the locals won't know what hit them. Driving to GF, etc. to save $50.00 on something and spend $70.00 on gas; many can't figure out this math. Also internet shopping, opens people up for more fraud. I am sad to see Creative Leisure close. Not only losing wonderful owners and managers, but losing another business.

thumbsdown writes:

Long live the independent record store spirit...if not the brick and mortar. Rick, you are an icon...thank you for giving us all a little piece of culture and history that will not be soon forgotten! Rock on in your next Creative Leisure!

shannon writes:

The end of an era. Even though I no longer live there, it still makes me sad. Good luck in all future endeavors and thanks gor the memories!

AdrienneD writes:

Aww man, this is too sad. I still have DVDs and VHS tapes I bought there over a decade ago before I moved to Oregon. I loved that you could special order items and did that many times. Good luck to you guys! I don't live in Havre any more, but I know you will be missed.

2smart4u writes:

Way to go, Havre! Taking your money out of town has destroyed another business! Keep it up and all we will have is chain stores, fast food joints and casinos. Or, copycat businesses, where one person comes up with a great idea, others get jealous and start doing the same exact thing, oversaturating the market and no one makes money, so they all go out of business and we continue to have a whole lot of nothing special. Need to change the slogan to 'Havre Has What?' or 'Take a Look at NOTHING!'

LovedIt writes:

I loved this place! Like havre needs another quilt store.

Missed writes:

You'll be greatly missed! I always enjoyed visiting your store and finding music. Best of luck on your next endeavors!