Last night, Rich Menning, owner of Atomic Records in Milwaukee announced via the email list and Atomic's website that the store will be closing it's doors in February 2009. This is a huge loss for the musical scene of Milwaukee.
For 24 years, Atomic has been a mainstay and icon of independent music stores in Milwaukee, and in many respects the country. It has always been highly regarded for their good prices, fantastic collection and unique store. Atomic's tshirts are seen all over the city and many a bands have stopped by for in-store signings and shows.
When the day comes in February that Atomic locks their doors, Milwaukee will lose a piece of its history.
Menning listed numerous reasons for the store closing including the downturn of the music industry and the continually suffering economy. As a show of faith to the customers of Atomic, all merchandise will be 20% in December. Following in January, Atomic will clean house and put everything in the store on sale.
Atomic's website had this to say about January, "will see reduced hours (to be announced) and we will not be
ordering any new product. Any remaining non-returnable stock will be
reduced further. In addition, a basement full of memorabilia, posters,
press kits, displays, LPs, 45s, rare CDs and DVDs, stereo equipment,
racks, amplifiers and whatever else a record store accumulates over 20+
years will all be sale priced. It will be a constantly replenished,
month-long musical rummage sale that should be of particular interest
or me personally, Atomic will always be remembered as the first place I went to the day I arrived in Milwaukee.
After saying goodbye to my parents when they dropped me off at the UWM dorms as a Freshman in 2002, I took the walk to Atomic to get some new music to enjoy while unpacking my stuff. Since 2002, I've been to Atomic Records countless times for their new releases on Tuesdays. Almost every release came with extra material, whether it was a bonus CD, sticker, poster or even a tshirt. The prices were always great – especially knowing the money when back to the store and not a corporate giant like Best Buy.
As any music fan in Milwaukee will tell you, this news sucks. Its time
to hold out hope that someone will come to Atomic's rescue and save a
kick-ass piece of Milwaukee's culture.