Founder: Russel Solomon
Industry: Retail, DVD’s, Video Games, Records
Year Founded: 1960
Year Defunct: 2006
In 1960, Russell Solomon opened the first Tower Records store on Broadway, in Sacramento, California. He named it for his father's drugstore, which shared a building and name with the Tower Theater, where Solomon first started selling records. The first stand-alone Tower Records store was located at 2514 Watt Ave in Sacramento, CA. By 1976, Solomon had opened Tower Books, Posters, and Plants at 1600 Broadway, next door to another Sacramento Tower Records location. In 1995, Tower.com opened, making the enterprise one of the first retailers to move online.
In addition to compact discs and cassette tapes, the stores sold DVDs, electronic gadgets like mp3 players, video games, accessories, and toys, and a few Tower Records locations sold books as well, such as those in Brea, Mountain View, and Sacramento, California, as well as stores in Austin, Boston, Massachusetts, Nashville, New York City, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle.
Seven years after its founding, Tower Records expanded to San Francisco, opening a store in what was originally a grocery store at Bay Street and Columbus Avenue. In 1979, Tower Records in Japan started its business as the Japan Branch of MTS Incorporated. The following year, Sapporo Store, the first in Japan opened. The chain eventually expanded internationally to include stores in Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, Ireland, Israel, United Arab Emirates, Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador, and Argentina. The Tower Records stores in Japan split off from the main chain and are now independent. Arguably the most famous Tower Records outlet was the purpose built building that company staff general-contracted, with many personally contributing their labor, which opened in 1971 on the north west corner of Sunset Boulevard and Horn Avenue in West Hollywood.
In New York City, Tower Records operated a suite of stores on and near lower Broadway in the East Village. The main store was located at the southeast corner of East 4th Street and Broadway. The Tower Records Annex was in the same building, located at the southwest corner of East 4th and Lafayette Street. The third store, Tower Video, was located on the southeast corner of East 4th and Lafayette Street, and specialized in video and the second floor of this location also sold books. Their location on the Upper West Side, near Lincoln Center on 66th Street and Broadway, was a magnet for those working in the field of musical theatre.
The Nashville location on West End Avenue (across from Vanderbilt University) was in a former Packard dealership. The old showroom floor in front was devoted to CDs, cassettes and vinyl. The area in the back housed videocassette sales and rentals, PC and console games and music paraphernalia. The strip mall next door contained a separate Tower Books. The location was famous for their late-night Monday events that culminated at midnight on Tuesday when staff started ringing up sales of new releases. Because of the store's proximity to Music Row, country music stars could occasionally be seen performing or shopping there.
Tower Records entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy for the first time in 2004. Factors cited were the heavy debt incurred during its aggressive expansion in the 1990s, growing competition from mass discounters and Internet piracy. Mismanagement, managerial incompetence, and crippling restrictions from the first bankruptcy deal also contributed to Tower's demise.
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.: Premium fit
.: 100% Soft cotton (fiber content may vary for different colors)
.: Light fabric (4.3 oz/yd² (146 g/m²))
.: Tear away label
.: Runs bigger than usual