After Ear X-tacy closes, other local music stores say it's tough to compete

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The doors are locked and nobody is answering the phones at what was once a staple in Louisville. Well known local business, Ear X-tacy is closed. Three days later another music store owner says it's hard for independents to stay in business and compete with the Internet.

"This is what I do - I turn people onto music," said Craig Rich, owner of Underground Sounds.

Rich said what keeps him in business is his knowledge.

"You can go onto Amazon, but you're not going to get turned onto new music," said Rich. "I mean how much culture is there in going to -- people who bought this also like this?"

Still there are fewer and fewer independent music stores, most notably Ear X-tacy cutting the lights and closing its doors. There is a red rose on the main doors.

"It makes you feel like I've lost a friend, not just a place, but sort of a friend," said shopper Cory Fusting.

The business was having money problems and had to move locations from Bardstown Road. Its former building is now a Panera Bread.

"For a lot of independent businesses the Internet was a game changer," said Rich. "If you have a jewelry store, a bookstore, a video store, a record store, an antique store, the only people that really have the money are the chains."

Rich said it's tough competing with the chains and the Internet, but Underground Sounds isn't going anywhere. He urges folks in Kentuckiana to shop locally.

"There's a lot of thought behind supporting independent businesses and people have been talking about it for the last 5 years a lot, especially with the economic downturn," said Rich.

The Louisville Independent Business Alliance has more than 400 members in Kentuckiana. They say shopping locally keeps more money at home.

A WAVE 3 viewer is hosting a candlelight vigil to say goodbye to Ear X-tacy Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in the parking lot.

Late Tuesday afternoon, we heard from Ear X-tacy manager Rebecca Mercer. She told us the decision to close the store was made late Friday night/early Saturday morning, but it had been in the works for awhile.

According to Mercer, they had seen business declining for some time and the store was closed that day because it was the end of the month and the rent was due.

As for the merchandise, Mercer said she doesn't know what they are going to do with it and working with their legal team on that. However, Mercer did say that local artists will get their merchandise back.

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