The Great Escape Broadway to Close Oct. 17, Moving to Charlotte Ave.

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Yesterday afternoon, The Great Escape founder Gary Walker announced in an email to members of the shop's mailing list that after 33 years, the local record store chain's flagship location is packing up its Steve Winwood records and moving across town. As of Monday, Oct. 18, the Broadway store will merge into the recently re-opened Charlotte store and be no more.

We lamented the closure of The Groove a few months ago, but the Broadway Great Escape closing, for lack of a better phrase, totally blows.

Working at The Great Escape on Broadway has become something of a rite of passage for young musicians and music fans who don't mind lousy hours, minimum wage pay and a never-ending stream of DVDs to alphabetize that come with the perks of working in a record store — namely the sweet employee discount and first crack at incoming records. If you ever wondered why you never saw that White Stripes vinyl on the shelf even though you watched the store buy it: I'm sorry. But not really.

After years of spending money there — from my days as a pre-adolescent turbo nerd buying comic books and Magic cards to my days as a college-going turbo nerd buying used Mojo Nixon records — my brief stint as an employee at TGE made me appreciate the place even more. Nothing spells out commitment to the job like spending an hour-and-a-half reading bluegrass record titles to a blind customer. Or spending hours cursing the possessed stereo for playing yet another Aerosmith song. Or trying to cram another 80 newly priced CDs into the incoming pop/rock/soul section.

I've got nothing against the Charlotte store — I did some of the grunt work in stocking it — but it's not exactly comfortable (there's only so much you can do with an old bowling alley) and it's certainly lacking in Broadway's charm. I made an open call for responses from former employees on Facebook and came away with a couple of comments from local luminaries:

“It's unfortunate to see such a monumental staple in Nashville move locations. The Broadway store has been featured in many artist's videos, on record covers, and mentioned in tremendous regard by thousands of visitors for 33-ish years and is definitely seen as a landmark by many, many people. Not to mention the loss of yet ANOTHER option for "our kind" who spend down to our last penny on a ton of stuff we'll never need, yet must have. I'm glad I had a chance to be part of a place I've gone to since childhood, and it's always going to be odd to see anything else occupying that space. I can't help but feel that there will be a tremendous loss of tourism and walk-in clientele as a result of this decision, but an institution loved by it's customers, no matter how deeply, still answers to it's owners in the end. I wish TGE the best of luck and hopefully will be going there for years to come, wherever they setup shop along the way.” —Jesse Baker, Powerbrrrd

“Drag. I worked there in high school. By worked, I mean listened to piles of records, entered and erased zillions of tiny hashmarks in their HAND-WRITTEN inventory, shrink-wrapped my weed, slept, etc. for $5.15/hr in the dusty catacombs upstairs. That was the first job I ever got fired from. I think I blew off work to go to Six Flags or something and never came back. Dumb kid, good gig. TGE introduced me to so many fantastic folks and even more music.” —Nick Bennett, The Zut Alors

Until then, Broadway's having a sidewalk sale on Saturday. Do them a solid and buy some of those Timbuk 3 and Neil Diamond records so they don't have to cart them over in a few weeks.

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