Iconic Broadway shop closes after 64 years
The iconic CutlerÂ’s Record Shop will be closing its doors at the end of June; in what is not only a case of another independent music store folding, but of a vanishing New Haven landmark.
The store, which has been at 27 Broadway since 1999, will close its doors for good on June 30 after 64 years in business, but not before holding a Â“Retirement CelebrationÂ” sale that began May 18, which reduced the price of everything in the store by 25 percent.
Phil Cutler, who joined the family business in 1971 at the age of 13 to work alongside his father Jayson, prefers to say the store is Â“retiring.Â” While sales arenÂ’t what they used to be, he made the decision to close shop before the business started to falter.
Â“This store has put a couple shekels in our pockets Â— myself, my father and my grandfather. I really feel like weÂ’re in good shape, and I didnÂ’t want to go out ten years from now with my tail between my legs,Â” Cutler says. Â“Thank God our backs arenÂ’t against the wall and we can make that order tramadol.Â”
Jayson Cutler, who retired nearly 20 years ago, took over the store from his parents, Nat and Lee Cutler, who founded CutlerÂ’s in 1948 with help from Sam Goody. Its original location was at 41 Broadway.
Within five years the store moved a few doors down to larger space at 33 Broadway. Listening booths allowed customers to preview records before buying. In the later years, CD players along the wall spun the latest releases continuously, and walking through the store, one could hear the tinny mash-up of many different songs simultaneously blaring from headphones.
Selling the business was never an option.
Â“If my name is on the door, and it isnÂ’t run how I want it to run, itÂ’s not worth all the money in the world to sell it,Â” Cutler says.
Bricks-and-mortar record stores have been in decline for years now, as physical album sales have waned since the early Â‘00s, in favor of digital downloads, legal and illegal. CDs have suffered the most, while vinyl record albums have made a comeback in the last few years, selling well enough to make national retailers like BestBuy carry some on its shelves.
Nielsen Soundscan reports that vinyl album sales rose to 3.9 million in 2011, up from 2.8 million the year before (by comparison, 1.0 million LPs were sold in 2007). Soundscan also reports that 67 percent of all vinyls sold that year were purchased at independent record stores (the nationÂ’s top selling vinyl album last year, as it was the past three years, was the BeatlesÂ’ Abbey Road).
Meanwhile, CDs continued their downward slide, selling 223.5 million units in 2011 versus 239.9 million the previous year (compared to 730 million sold in 2000). Cutler says that change has been evident at his store as well.
Â“Vinyl is doing very well; the increases are incredible,Â” he says. Â“The buy ambien online problem is that itÂ’s not making up for how much the CDs are declining. IÂ’m sure down the road it will, but not right now.Â”
Cutler adds that one of the last exciting moments to be in the business was when CDs became the new medium; he says those first seven or eight years were Â“crazy.Â”
He says there are plenty of younger shoppers still coming in; particularly the offspring of baby boomers, who at about 17 or 18 years old come in to buy Jimi Hendrix or Rolling Stones albums; and theyÂ’re often buying vinyl.
CutlerÂ’s landlord is University Properties, which Cutler thanked for being Â“terrificÂ” and Â“bending over backwards for usÂ” in a press statement. Director Abigail Rider called the closing an Â“end of an era. The Cutlers have been the epitome of a fine family-owned business and weÂ’re proud to have had them as tenants,Â” Rider said.
Phil Cutler, 53, isnÂ’t retiring any time soon; he currently splits his time working in the production end at Campus Customs, a few doors down on Broadway. He will work there full-time buy tramadol online no prescription the record store closes. Cutler even lined up jobs there for his long-time employees to switch to after the shop closes.
CutlerÂ’s has been full of customers since the news of its impending closure broke, and Cutler admits itÂ’s been overwhelming to share stories and memories with everyone.
Â“I couldnÂ’t be happier with my decision, but it is leaving a hole in the city Â— so at the end of the day, IÂ’m depressed,Â” he says. Â“But weÂ’ve been doing this a long time, day in and day out, so itÂ’s time to relax a little bit.
Â“ItÂ’s been a great run, and the customers seem to feel the same way,Â” he adds. Â“You canÂ’t ask for more than that. I guess we did something right.Â”