The music stops at Charlotte’s largest record store
PLUS: Charlotte Ledger Crosswords Week 2
Good morning! This is an abbreviated holiday weekend edition of The Charlotte Ledger. We’ll be back in full force on Monday.
Blast from the past: Bargain-hunters beef up their CD and DVD collections, as Manifest Discs on South Boulevard announces closure; K-pop, Carole King, ‘Mork & Mindy’
Going retro: Customers hunt for CDs at Manifest Discs on South Boulevard on Friday, the first day of a liquidation sale. It is going out of business after 22 years.
by Tony Mecia
Walking into a former Winn-Dixie at a South Boulevard strip mall on Friday felt like a step back in time: dozens of shoppers rifling through row after row of CDs, searching for an elusive 1970s vinyl record or waiting in a long line to buy an armful of classic DVDs.
CDs, DVDs, records — those used to be how people listened to music or watched movies, and Manifest Discs has stocked them for the last 22 years, even as the world shifted toward iTunes, Spotify, Netflix and other digital media. This week, though, Manifest called it quits and said it would sell its remaining items starting Friday for up to 75% off. That prompted old-timers and younger people from around the Charlotte region to descend on the shop to add to their collections of what’s now regarded as old media.
As they looked through the CD and record racks on Friday — a process that many Americans haven’t done for more than a decade — many said they were sad, called it and end of an era and proclaimed bluntly “it sucks.”
“It’s just heartbreaking. I’m so sad,” said Jordan Miller, 23, of Lancaster, S.C., who sheepishly admitted she was buying a few CDs of Korean popular music, known as K-pop. “I still have a VCR and records. I watch VHS tapes all the time.”
Manifest began in Charlotte in 1999 as Manifest Discs & Tapes, but quickly dropped the “& Tapes” as cassettes fell out of use. It opened by the intersection with Archdale Drive by the Starmount neighborhood right as CD sales nationally were peaking, with CDs accounting for more than 90% of all music sales. But the dominance of the format wouldn’t last. Apple’s iPod was introduced in 2001, promising “1,000 songs in your pocket,” and digital downloads started taking over. In 2020, CDs accounted for just 4% of music sales and were outsold by vinyl records (5%) for the first time since 1986, according to stats from the Recording Industry Association of America.
Record stores are in a subset of brick-and-mortar retailers including bookstores and video rental shops that have declined dramatically in numbers as they have been overtaken by technology. Remaining record stores in the Charlotte area include Repo Record in east Charlotte, Lunchbox Records in Plaza-Midwood, 2nd & Charles on South Boulevard and in Matthews and FYE at Concord Mills. Customers on Friday said Manifest was the largest.
Sean White, 22, of Midland was loading up on DVDs including “The Ren & Stimpy Show,” “SpongeBob SquarePants,” “Star Trek” and “Mork & Mindy: The Complete Series.”
Customers at Manifest on Friday said they prefer the quality of the older formats and like owning the physical objects, as opposed to owning the right to download a song or movie that lives on some tech company’s server. Others have nostalgia-producing collections they’re unwilling to part with:
“It’s kind of a lost treasure, being able to go to a record shop,” said Colleen Wallace, 53, of Clover, S.C., who was buying about a dozen records, including ones by Carole King and the ’70s folk rock duo Brewer & Shipley. “I’ve got a like a million little 45s in a box that I kept from when I’d go every week with my allowance to go buy one. … Spotify can give you all the music in one playlist, but there’s just something about putting it on a record player. It takes you back. I love the crackle.”
Jonathan Pope, 37, of Lowell said he’s been a regular customer for years and would attend events where bands would sign albums before their Charlotte shows. “It’s a great store for vinyl, CDs, DVDs, collectables, all that stuff,” he said. “It was a good place to come and hang out. It sucks that they’re closing.”
Ledger Crossword Week 2 + last weekend’s drawing winners
It’s Week 2 of our five-week run of Charlotte-themed crossword puzzles.
Last weekend, we had 35 people send in the correct answer to a “meta” puzzle. Of that group, we drew names for prizes: Readers Libby Meiners, Donna McCoy, Chuck Ramseur and Sharon Wooten won $25 Harris Teeter gift cards; while Bev Bradley, Dan Reis, Andrew Dunn and Jeremy Davids won 6-month memberships to The Ledger (or had their existing memberships extended).
No contest this weekend, though — it’s just for fun.
You can find the crosswords and answers in this series as they are released at our Charlotte Ledger Crosswords page. Puzzles are posted Saturdays, with solutions posted Mondays. They’re created by Chris King, edited by Tim Whitmire and presented by CXN Advisory.
.PDF (suitable for download and printing):
To print the .PDF file, on your computer, click on “Open Ledger Crossword - PDF” (above), then click download (the down arrow), then open file and print as you usually would.
.PUZ (suitable for use on tablets and computers with Across Lite app):
The .PUZ file, which lets you solve crosswords on a tablet or computer, is for use with an application called Across Lite. You need to download and install the app, then download the .PUZ file above (“Open Ledger Crossword - PUZ”), then open the app and use it to open the file on your tablet or computer.
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