Clay Scales over at 52.5 Records, Charleston's favorite indie store, has announced that he'll be closing up shop. In a letter to customers and friends, he said he was offered a deal on his lease and couldn't afford to pass it up, mainly because compact disc sales no longer pay the bills.
"The challenge for me in the past few years has been to find one item, or a mix of items, that will 'fit' the store and also sell well enough to make up for the lost CD sales. I've been only semi-successful, but I've had plenty of fun experimenting. Beer anyone? That addition was a success. Chuck Keppler's 16 Penny Gallery recently joined forces with us, and we've had some success selling affordable original art and prints. Additionally, vinyl has seen a big upswing in popularity. We're selling more vinyl now than we ever have. Ultimately though, the sale of beer, art, and the increase in vinyl sales are still not nearly enough to make up for the decline of the CD. The decision to close to store was difficult, but it seems to me the obvious decision to make."
Clay's going-out-of-business sale begins Sept. 1, and he encourages you to make him an offer on anything and everything — display item, store fixture, or piece of stereo equipment. It's all gotta go.
He'd also love for his fans and friends to share any special 52.5 related memories (great album you bought, band you saw play, anything at all). Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to the store's Facebook page.
Here's my own memory of 52.5 Records. When we first started this newspaper back in the summer and fall of 1997, I wandered into a cool little record store at 52.5 Wentworth St. and discovered a kindred spirit in Clay Scales, who loved ska, independent comics, pulp movies, and the alternative press. I also found one of my very first music writers — Aaron Allen, who went on to write a column that never failed to piss off entire cross-sections of Charleston. For me, Clay and the crowd he attracted at 52.5 always represented a core Charleston scene of progressive music fans, musicians, artists, writers, and the like. You will be missed.