And One Day The World Changed- Tower Records Founder Closes last Store

A classic American tale,  Russ  Solomon sold records in his fathers drug store on 16th and Broadway in Sacramento,  the store was connected to the Tower Theater.

His first store opened on Watt Ave in the 60’s , he opened  a store in San Francisco, and from there he went global. UK, Hong Kong, China, Taiwan,Canada, Japan, Mexico,Thailand, Argentina, Israel and many other countries.

Tower Records, reputation, is they sold everything no retailer could match their selection….and their stores were open till midnight.  Many Artist held concerts at Tower stores…  The most famous store was the Hollywood store on Sunset…  The name lives on in Japan, owned by a corporation.

And then one day the world changed….

When was the last time you bought a CD?


By Bob Shallit: Sacramento Bee
Russ Solomon

is finally calling it quits, a half-century after founding Tower Records.  The legendary Sacramento music man is selling his one remaining retail store, R5 Records. The likely buyer: local music chain Dimple Records.

“I’m happy as hell, to be honest with you, that I can now retire at the ripe old age of almost 85,”Solomon  said Wednesday.  He opened his R5 Records store three years ago at the former site of one of his Tower stores, 16th and Broadway.

His goal was to recapture some of the magic that made Tower one of the leading music retailers in the world before it was undone by competition from online sellers and deep discounters.

But the new store never reached profitability, Solomon confirmed, despite offering an eclectic mix of merchandise and drawing occasional crowds with weekend concerts and sidewalk sales. In recent months, R5’s landlord reached out to the owners of Dimple Records, and sales talks began.

No deal has been signed. But Solomon  said he’s confident the transaction will be completed soon and he can move into a retirement that includes pursuing his interest in photography.

Dimple co-owner John Radakovitz also said a deal “looks highly probable” and he anticipates taking over the business within two months.

“I’ve known Russ for a million years. We’re good friends,” he said, adding that’s it’s “an honor” to take over Solomon last music venture.

Some of R5’s half-dozen employees already have begun interviewing for positions with Dimple, said Radakovitz, who runs the company with his wife, Dilyn.

R5, meanwhile, is reducing its inventory.

A sign on its door lists store hours and notes: “All Sales Final.”

Like other Dimple operations, the Broadway store will sell new and used video games, DVDs and vinyl records as well as CDs.

How can the new owners provide a rich selection of music while stocking the other goods?  “The walls are high,” Radakovitz said. “We’ll jam them in.”

Diversifying into games and other products as well as used goods is one reason Dimple has been able to thrive in the same environment that crushed Tower and then undermined R5.

In fact, following Tower’s  bankruptcy in 2006, Dimple acquired Tower’s former store site in Citrus Heights and showed interest in getting the Watt Avenue store, in the same center where Solomon opened his first location in 1960.

Dimple now has seven outlets in the region.

Solomon said he thinks Dimple will do “the right job” in running the business.

This makes the overall (music) business a little better because it strengthens Dimple,” Solomon said.

“Somebody,” he added, “has to keep waving the flag for independent record stores. Hopefully we won’t all sink together.”