SF record store will close their doors Friday

December 28, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
The New Year will bring changes to a San Francisco neighborhood business that's been virtually unchanged for a quarter century. ABC7 spent the afternoon at a true mom-and-pop record store that's one of the last of its kind.

They say it's the people that make the record stores, not the records. And at one particular record store, those people are Elba Clemente-Lambert and Joe Lambert. She's all about Latin and Reggae, he's all about jazz. Together, they've run the Creative Music Emporium off of Ocean Avenue for 26-and-a-half years.

"Our mission was to play music, expose people to music that you normally wouldn't hear, and we've stuck to that formula," said Joe Lambert.

"We started with an empty room, one bin and two counters, and I thought we would never fill it up. And now we've run out of room," said Clemente-Lambert.

Even for 10 years after Apple sold the first iPod, the Lamberts have kept selling CDs, records and even cassettes to customers who say they like it that way.

"For the most part, the customers that come to us now are loyal customers that have been coming to us for years," said Clemente-Lambert. "But, there's not enough of them anymore."

Though they've held on longer than they ever thought possible, Creative Music Emporium will close on Friday.

"It's just a fight not worth fighting anymore," said Lambert.

The Lamberts have put every tape, record and CD on clearance. In a room adorned with pictures of local artists who sold some of their first CDs here, like Grammy nominee and jazz artist Wayne Wallace.

"You could always come here and feel like you were talking to someone who cared about the music and actually knew the music and had something invested in it," said Wallace.

But it's not all tears for the Lamberts. Though the doors are closing, Creative Music will live on as Joe and Elba follow the rest of the business and start selling their special breed of music online.

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