Shoppers who arrived at Rasputin Music's 69 Powell St. location in Union Square may have been a bit disconcerted to see that the store didn't open at 11am as usual. That's because it has closed its doors for good.
"We regret to inform you that the Rasputin Powell location is no longer open for business," says the store's voicemail message. "We appreciate your patronage and we still have our store on Haight Street at 1672 that will continue to remain open. Thank you for shopping at Rasputin Powell." A former employee also posted notice of the closure on Reddit.
Rasputin, which began in Berkeley in 1971, has 11 other locations in California, but with this closure, the Haight outpost will be its only remaining location in the city. The store, which boasted five floors of used CDs, vinyl, DVDs, books and more, was likened to a "treasure hunt" by one Yelper. It was also known for having an elevator operator of its very own.
Given its size, Rasputin's space will likely be hotly contested by retailers; with a prime location near the cable car turnaround, it's surrounded by national chains like Urban Outfitters, Burger King, and the recently expanded Sephora flagship store.
The closure is another marker in what's been a tough few years for video and music stores in San Francisco and around the country, as content increasingly goes digital and online retailers grab a bigger piece of the remaining pie. In August, Streetlight Records closed at 2350 Market St. after 35 years in business, and the Inner Sunset's 35-year-old Le Video closed its doors in December after selling off its collection to the Alamo Drafthouse.
Others are diversifying to survive: the Mission's 19-year-old Lost Weekend Video now shares its space with Oakland-based 1-2-3-4 Go! Records, while the Tenderloin's RS94109 has added a coffee shop to boost its business. "Sustaining [a record store] in a city like San Francisco is hard ... it's not like Berlin, it's not like New York. There's not eight million people around you," RS94109's Sohrab Harooni told us back in November.
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