Tempe's Hoodlums record store hits pause - East Valley Tribune: Business

Tempe's Hoodlums record store hits pause

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Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 1:59 pm | Updated: 9:26 pm, Sat Jul 14, 2012.

After 14 years of business, Tempe’s Hoodlums Music and Movies is going into hibernation, closing their doors, possibly temporarily, on Aug. 15.

“We’re not sure which way we’re going,” said Steve Wiley. “Rather than say we’re going out of business, which isn’t a fact yet, or say that we’re moving to another location, which isn’t a fact yet either, we’re going into hibernation.”

After months of trying to renegotiate their lease at Tempe Square Shopping Center, located at the southwest corner of Guadalupe Road and McClintock Drive, the two owners have decided to weigh their options before making any decisions.

“We feel pretty good about battling through this time in our industry,” Kristian Luce said, mentioning both the changes in the music industry as well as the recession. “When we opened in ’98, people thought we were crazy.”

Hoodlums opened in August 1998 inside Arizona State University’s Memorial Union, first at a small location, before moving into a larger space in the basement next to the food court in 2001.

“It happened really quick,” Wiley said.

Luce added, “It was really small at first; we were selling mostly our own collection.”

The two had worked for Zia Records for 10 years before opening their own shop. After the death of Zia’s original owner, Luce and Wiley, along with a third partner, opened up shop at ASU.

After the fire at the Memorial Union in the fall of 2007 closed the shop, the music store went into a somewhat forced hibernation as Luce and Wiley figured out their next move.

“Changing Hands (Bookstore) was our indie idol, the way they’ve grown and expanded,” said Wiley. “We said, ‘Let’s go ahead and expand.’”

Hoodlums reemerged in September 2008 just a few doors down in the same shopping center as Changing Hands, an independent bookstore that specializes in used books.

“This space is probably more than we need,” Wiley said.

Since moving to the location, the business has added art shows and performances by bands, in addition to expanding certain sections, Luce said.

“If you are a music fan, you can get big bang for your buck,” Luce said. “It’s a great time to be a music fan.”

For the two owners, music has always been more than just a job.

“Both of us today are driven by our love for the art,” Wiley said. “There are a lot of people who collect music, just like we do.”

Plans for the store’s future are still up in the air right now, Luce said.

“We’re at a crossroads, it could go any way right now,” Wiley said.

They may open at a new, smaller location, Luce said. Or, they may not.

“We hit the ground running and 14 years later, I don’t think anybody is sad,” Wiley said. “We’re veterans; we’ve been through lots of curves and bends. A lot of businesses haven’t had as much good fortune as Kristian and I have had.”

The owners plan to close the store Aug. 15, but before they go, there will be a number of sale items. To check for specials, visit the website www.hoodlumsmusic.com.

“We’re making it up as we go,” Wiley said.

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