After 18 years, JJ’s Ear Candy to close its doors for good
September 16, 2005
Many years from now, Carson City music fans will hearken back to the days of the area’s last independent music store, JJ’s Ear Candy, its eclectic selection and incense-scented atmosphere.
After 18 years at 200 E. Winnie Lane, owner Pat Conroy will shutter the store on Sept. 30.
Conroy said Friday that some may blame the big box stores, but it has nothing to do with them. Conroy said he did his best business when both Wal-Mart and Kmart were open. But in a way, the music industry’s reaction to the discount chains has affected his business.
He has a myriad of reasons for closing the store. Competition from digital music sources. Personal reasons. But the big one is just how the music industry has changed through the years.
“Studios and labels no longer market to independents. The majority of their marketing goes to the big chains and they have done a fabulous job of taking the marketing and using it for their success.”
Conroy said, at one time, it was exciting to receive offers daily from the labels and have bands, such as Korn and Pantera, visit his store.
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“Up until about five years ago I had major labels marketing to me.”
But he also understands why a studio would market to a large discount chain, rather than to many different independent stores. It’s easier to form a relationship with one rather than 500.
Internet sales – which caught the music industry by surprise – doesn’t interest Conroy. The music business was revolutionized by the World Wide Web. He’d rather stand across the counter and talk to a customer.
Conroy can special-order a movie he doesn’t have, or tell the customer exactly why it’s not available. Teens knew this was the place to come for show tickets. Adults and teens came to JJ’s for body jewelry, band stickers and Nag Champa Incense.
He said his best-selling album is probably Metallica’s “Metallica”.
Some customers he sees four or five times a week. Conroy said he likes the idea of coming in and then leaving that way: with customers he likes who’ll miss him when he’s gone.
“For those of us that like the real shopping experience of going into a specialty store, I think that’s a dying breed. Not just my business but a lot of businesses.”
Conroy, 54, has ideas what he wants to do next, but he’s not sharing them. He employs four people. He hasn’t heard when another business will occupy his space.
He called the 2,800-square-foot store JJ’s because a lot of people with Js in their names had come into his life at the time.
About 10 years ago, he threw a huge party in the parking lot to celebrate the sale of Garth Brooks tickets. Ticket sales handled by the big companies are more complicated now.
“That day is gone,” he said while sipping a cup of coffee.
n Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.
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