The Long Ear

Hard to believe its true, but our own local mini-Tower Records is celebrating 20 years in business in Coeur d'Alene. There's a neat article in today's CDA Press mentioning the anniversary celebrations planned at the store for tomorrow and the weekend. I remember when the Long Ear opened in that tiny little Government Way strip-mall cubby hole with a few hand-built record bins, a little display case full of tapes, and an encyclopedic knowledge of music. This store blew my 13 year old mind by actually carrying some of the impossible-to-find-in-Idaho albums by bands that I was watching on MTV's 120 Minutes every Sunday at midnight. They could order import records from other countries, another first for CDA back then, and I ordered all the gorgeous but overpriced 4AD records (Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, The Wolfgang Press) - they seemed so exotic, like works of art from another planet. I bought my first 2 CD's there, the day after Christmas in 1987. Santa brought me my very first CD player (quite spendy at the time) and I bought Kick by INXS and Savage by Eurythmics to play on it. Back in those days, I think owners Terry and Deon (to quote my father: "why don't they call it The Long Hair...Ha ha ha.") used to slice open a fresh vinyl copy of nearly every title they carried to play on their cooler-than-shit stereo system and they knew exactly what music to recommend to whom. I can remember their son Victor behind the counter when he couldn't have been much over ten years old and wasn't much taller than the counter , handling the register and talking about music like an old pro. It seems like every person they've had working in the store over the years has been a music geek extrordinaire, but without the snottiness that usually accompanies that role at record shops in larger cities. I honestly believe that the key reason this business has survived 20 years in the rough CDA business scene is due to their super customer service and overwhelming friendliness. Here is a place where they still remember your name when you haven't even popped in the store in five years, and when you do it's like visiting old friends. Also, in the doom and gloom of a music industry faced with lagging CD sales due to the MP3 and digital music revolution, the Long Ear have made lemonade by diversifying into the world of candles, gifts, kids books, purses and other hippy delights along with their always impressive and huge selection of CDs and DVDs. Also, nothing beats the little Long Ear 25-cents-off ticket game. I used to get whole CDs free with those tickets, and one time I actually won the jackpot (it was only about $60 if I recall, but it still rocked.) I confess I haven't haunted the place as much as I used to in the last few years, since I've become an E-bay and Amazon addict (not to mention a little thing called Soulseek...shhhh!). However, when there's a new release I can't wait for, or when I just have extra cash to blow, this is the place I head, happy in the knowledge I am supporting a local business rather than lining the pockets of a corporate big wig... Everyone stop by The Long Ear (2405 N 4th, CDA) and congratulate them on 20 Long Years and tell them thanks for providing our town with a fantastic independent alternative.

OMG. Is that Victor?! They grow up so fast...
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