Best Move, Retail Division: Silver Platters

It wasn’t the Spartan, warehousy utilitarianism of Lower Queen Anne’s Silver Platters that gave it its irresistible pull, but the fact that it boasted the best classical CD department in town. I know, given the dire news you’ve heard about the recording industry, that that sounds like an accolade on the order of “world’s tallest midget”—but you’d never know it at SP, where three or four dozen new releases would tempt me whenever I dropped in. Thank goodness neither the selection nor the Spartanness changed in the branch’s relocation to SoDo. Asked about the move, owner Mike Batt says, “I don’t like leaving neighborhoods/locations. In the case of Queen Anne, it was the fact that it became clear that the space we were in would be redeveloped in the near future, and we needed to be proactive to find a new space that was big enough to hold our entire inventory and still be the record store we want to be. … at least 12,000 square feet in order to keep our large music, movie, and book selections. Anything less would have meant downsizing the labor-of-love sections such as classical, jazz, international, folk and yes, even vinyl.” On a recent visit, their two and a half long aisles of new and used classical CDs, fat with plunder, again stirred that familiar itch in my wallet area. And speaking of vinyl, the store’s used classical bins are mouthwatering, and the book section seems to have expanded as well. The SoDo store’s actually smaller by about 1,000 square feet, says Batt, but “we can lay it out better, and so we have as many racks as we did at Queen Anne, including a few more, and it appears bigger. When people ask about the size now I just tell them it is bigger, instead of trying to convince them it isn’t.”

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