Earlier today I read that Criminal Records was closing! I thought it was some cruel joke as no one would ever dare close Criminal Records!! I reached out to Eric Levin to see if he could shed some light on this. For those of you who don’t know, Eric is the owner of Criminal Records and the co-founder of Record Store Day!
Criminal Records just celebrated their 20th anniversary! It’s hard to believe that it has been 20 years since they opened the doors and became one of the most well-known locally owned and operated businesses in Atlanta.
Eric told me that a move to a 6,000-square-foot space from a 2,500 one tripled expenses and happened three years ago, when the economy took a turn for the worse. He went on to tell me that people vote with their money, and unfortunately they are not voting for locally owned Criminal Records.
Being heavily in debt, in part due to his purchase of still struggling Aurora coffee on Moreland Avenue, Eric knows that with people visiting larger chain Starbucks just down the parking lot, Aurora has put him in further debt. Now with people purchasing songs online and not frequenting local record stores, Criminal Records is drowning.
When I asked Eric what would help, his answer was simple. Anything and Everything. Eric is not putting his hope all in the fact that Criminal can be saved. He is a realist and knows that they could shut their doors for good November 1st. He also knows that the love of the music community and the wonderful businesses that keep Atlanta going can save Criminal Records!
Eric is open to the idea of a partner. So if any music savvy business people wants to be part of this great Atlanta landmark, feel free to contact him and let him know!
Also, several great businesses and bands have already reached out to help including Manchester Orchestra, Orange Amps, The Variety Playhouse and more! We encouraged him to set up a paypal account and start accepting donations, so if and when they do we will let you know!
The Backstage Beat will keep you in the loop as to any development, benefits and news as we learn about it. We can save Criminal Records and we should!