"Brick and Mortar Love" Traces the Indie Record Store Story In America Through the Travails of One

Arguably a more thorough, probing and compelling indie record store documentary than "Last Shop Standing"—and not because it's about America and I'm an American—"Brick and Mortar Love" views the state of the indie record store in America mainly through the eyes, heart and bank account of John Timmons, owner of Louisville Kentucky's once thriving record store ear X-tacy.

The 70 minute film also interviews members of Timmons' dedicated, knowledgeable and passionate young staff as well as many other indie store owners throughout America. The questions asked here and the ability of the filmmakers to keep the discussion on target compared to the more rambling reminiscences of "Last Shop Standing" help produce answers that are more pointed and a stronger narrative thread. I don't mean to be critical of "Last Shop Standing" because it too is a "must see" for any record lover and collector, but "Brick and Mortar Love" is a more gripping, more focused film that produces a surprising amount of dramatic tension and strong emotions.

But what truly sets this movie apart is its focus on but one store over an extended period of time. We watch ear X-tacy go from a thriving record and CD store in the mid-eighties mold to a struggling one (still in the mid-eighties mold), where despite in-store benefits from some well known musicians and a teary online plea to customers for more business from owner Timmons that produces some short term cash flow benefits, the store is forced to close and move to a smaller location.

Timmons remains optimistic as the night before opening day his loyal customers line up outside the door, yet there are some nasty comments online from the less understanding, more "price is everything" type music buyers who don't understand the value of having a local record store in the community—something they would get after a screening of this movie!

What ultimately happens is something you'll have to discover by watching the movie, which I highly recommend for its truthful story telling and for its ability to put yourself in a store owner's shoes.

The drama here is surprisingly deep and it is real.

Watch the trailer

Moko's picture

Not to have ago personally at Gubarenko but why provide a link to exactly the main culprit in the closure of so many indie stores a giant multinational that goes out of its way to avoid paying taxes to enable it to undercut its competitors.

Why not provide links to a number of bricks & motar stores (or ones with online sales) so that they can survive when the odds are so stacked against their success.

Rayman's picture

He contributes very little to this forum.

If he works for Amazon he should really disclose that info.

His post on the Thom chacon story appears to be a mere excuse for posting another Amazon link.

What is this supposed to mean?

"It's really always awkward to see when you review something from this year, but after reading it, i've understood why - this is a must buy.

I've ordered my on amazon, because it's cheaper in terms of international shipping."

Why feel awkward about a new review?

audiophile5000's picture

I see I am not the only one annoyed by Gubarenko's constant Amazon links. Gubarenko does not know when seemingly good deeds (ie: his Amazon links) are not seen by any of us as helpful. These constant references to Amazon links are instead seen as excessive and unnecessary. Anyone who has a computer in 2013 knows about Amazon and that nearly anything could be found for sale on that website. Gubarenko is not doing any of us a service, no matter where in the world we live. As if any of us who went through the process of obtaining an Analog Planet account do not already have the knowledge of Amazon’s existence! And Gubarenko actually thinks that what matters most to us audiophiles when it comes to buying a record is that the price be the absolute cheapest! Really?! Some of us would pay extra just to be able to walk down to a local record store and buy it from a store owner who lives in the same town or city, who is passionate about what he is selling and not treating the record as just another piece of commodity to be sold off at the lowest price. Or that we would actually not want oour records to come in the mail when summer temperatures are so high, we do not want to chance our records to heat damage. So Gubarenko, troll somewhere else with your helpless links; use an online Russian to English translator so there is no more excuse for poor grammar; and stop ruining this great website for the rest of us. We already know about Amazon; we have known about Amazon since 1994 when it started! It has been here for nearly twenty years!

Mr. Fremer, thank you for all you have done to champion and bring the art of the phonograph and all its association back to the forefront of music. Your efforts are highly appreciated.

cantdog's picture

I think it's fine that he posts links. You don't have to click on it. And amazon isn't what killed record stores. I love having local record stores and earxtacy will be sorely missed, but what killed it wasn't new mediums, but the industry's unwillingness to change models. The store that earxtacy was in prior to their last move was huge, with an upstairs, and a ton of space. When I see record stores that continue to thrive they are much smaller affairs. After the move the store was still too big. Why not scale it down much smaller, fire most employees and start from scratch? I'd much have a smaller earxtacy that could grow again than one that closed completely.


Also, the first plea was one thing, but the second in the new location was really desperate. It placed blame solely on the people purchasing instead of on the person running the business. Is it my responsibility your store stays open? Or is it yours to create a model that works in today's economy and music industry?

Paul Boudreau's picture
johnmiller's picture

Amazon has become a search engine for online buyers, which makes it more broad and a lots to choose from.