First Circuit City leaves Albemarle Square, then Peter Chang leaves Taste of China, and now this? "We are looking for another location," says Plan 9 owner Jim Bland, of the record store’s Albemarle Square location. “We’ve been stuck in that very large space for quite a long time, and it’s way too big for us for what the Charlottesville market is these days.”
Bland would not say when the Albemarle Square shop would close, but was "in the middle of" looking for a new location this morning. It is unclear where the record store will go next, but Bland says he wants to keep it in the Charlottesville area. A call to Dumbarton Properties, which manages Albemarle Square, was not immediately returned.
Reached by phone, Manager Ruth Wilson deferred comment to Bland. But in a recent C-VILLE story she spoke about the store’s efforts to recalibrate its selection toward used goods—originally the hallmark of the store, but less so in recent years at the Albemarle Square. Albemarle Square lost its used vinyl buyer in 2007, but recently started restocking large quantities through a buyer at Plan 9’s flagship store on Cary Street in Richmond, known for its vast selection of vinyl records.
A marketing firm called the Almighty Institute of Music Retail reported that 3,100 record stores closed between 2003 and 2008. Plan 9 lost locations in Roanoke, Lynchburg and Harrisonburg in 2009, Williamsburg this year and on the Corner in 2008.
What can record stores have to do survive?