Easy Street Records—The Last one standing in West Seattle.
Easy Street Records, an independent West Seattle retailer since 1988, closed down a second location in Queen Anne in January of 2013. The West Seattle location shown in the photograph above will continue to operate. (Photograph taken by Emylie Chinen)
SEATTLE—Like many music lovers in the Seattle area, Erica Ames, 21, had always resorted to Easy Street Records as her second home.
Whether it had been spending hours in the store listening to new released albums, going through old vinyl and CD’s or attending in-store artist performances, Erica had supported Easy Street for as long as she could remember.
“I can remember the days in high school when me and a couple friends would bus down to Mercer to spend the day at the store” Ames told me, “I would sit on the floor right next to the stereo system with the big headphones on, searching for new artists that I liked while going through old classic rock vinyl like Jimi or Zeppelin to hang up on my wall.”
Ames explained that her father had always had a love for Easy Street, so it was meaningful to her to know that she could share the same passion for music and a store while growing up.
On January 28th, 2013, the Easy Street Records located in Queen Anne was closed after fulfilling a 10-year lease and battling with the current economic landscape of retail.
Easy Street Records, an independent record store and a mainstay of Seattle’s booming popular music scene had operated two stores in the last decades. The first, located in West Seattle, opened in 1988 with the second in Queen Anne followed in 2002.
On January 2nd, 2013, owner Matt Vaughan announced the closure of the Easy Street Records location in Queen Anne on a website post due to a significant increase in rent as a primary reason and added that Chase Bank would be the new tenant.
“There were multiple factors going into the closure of the store,” says Jonathon Errett, store manager of the West Seattle location. “I mean, location was a big part of it, Easy Street is a West Seattle institution for the most part. “
“We did a great job building a strong name out here for the store and we have great store loyalty. There was only so much we could have done when sadly there’s no great future for record stores out there anymore.”
Although many still mourn at the closing of the Queen Anne Easy Street, there is high hope for the original West Seattle store. Having recently signed a new 15-year lease, Easy Street will carry on the tradition of great in-store events, delicious breakfasts and coffee from the café, awesome vinyl, and overall, an excellent selection of music.
The Queen Anne store provided a much larger stage for in-store performances that featured famous artists including Lou reed, Elvis Costello, Kings Of Leon and The Head And The Heart.
Although the West Seattle store has limited space for stage performances, Easy Street still finds a way to invite amazing artists and host’s events that keep lines out the door.
I was lucky enough to experience an in-store last September with the group, “Cage The Elephant.” There were well over 200 people in the store with fans peaking through the store windows to get a good look at the performance.
“The community aspect of Easy Street and the shared passion for music that drowns our souls is what I love most about working here,” says Alex Hermens, the stores product manager. “We don’t need to worry because the West Seattle store will be here for a long time and so will I.”