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.
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."