SGV Tribune

Amoeba Music’s Sunset Boulevard location will not reopen due to coronavirus; new location set to open in the fall

With nearly 20 years of memories that were to be celebrated over the summer months, the independent record store won’t be able to give its original location a proper send-off.

Back in February, Amoeba Music officially announced that it would be moving to a new location, just blocks away from its original home at 6400 Sunset Blvd., in Los Angeles, next to the ArcLight multiplex Theater.

It was supposed to be a seamless transition, with the former location remaining open until the new spot, located at the El Centro Complex at 6200 Hollywood Blvd. on the corner of Argyle Ave., opened sometime in the fall.

However, once the global coronavirus health crisis hit Southern California, Amoeba was forced to close its doors on March 18 amid the spread of COVID-19 and rely strictly on online orders.

On April 21, the self-proclaimed “world’s largest independent record store” launched a GoFundMe campaign, hoping to raise $400,000 to stay afloat and pay its staff of 400 at its Los Angeles, Berkeley and San Francisco locations. So far, the GoFundMe effort has raised over $215,000 and has more than 5,000 donors.

In yet another setback, the Hollywood Amoeba Music location has announced that due to the impact suffered from the COVID-19 pandemic there is “no foreseeable opportunity to re-open in its current home,” according to a release sent out on Monday, April 27.

“We are devastated for our run at this beautiful destination to end like this, but we simply have no choice,” Jim Henderson, co-owner of Amoeba Music said.

The store opened in 2001 and Henderson added that the crew had a summer-long celebration planned that included many of the memorable events it had hosted through the years. Amoeba Music was a popular tourist attraction and local hangout that specialized in hard-to-find and rare albums and films, books, vinyl records and more. It was also known for hosting free concerts and signings by artists like Paul McCartney, Black Flag, Lana Del Rey, Patti Smith, Ozzy Osbourne, FKA Twigs, The Raconteurs, Brian Poshen and Anthrax’s Scott Ian, Sturgill Simpson and many more.

Singer-songwriter Lisa Loeb performed on March 5, followed by an in-store signing with electronic-rock duo Phantogram on March 6 and the last in-store performance featured Latin pop singer Angelica Garcia on March 11.

“With the health, safety and welfare of customers and employees of paramount concern to both health officials and Amoeba’s owners, reopening this summer while COVID-19 is still an issue is simply not possible,” Henderson continued. “The only way forward is to wait this terrible situation out, and focus on the rebuild that will keep music retail alive and thriving in Hollywood for another 20-plus years.”

Amoeba will continue to sell items online and rely on its fanbase to contribute to the GoFundMe account to keep all of the staff employed through the next several months.

“We’ve been so incredibly fortunate to have had this amazing location, and tears have definitely been shed over what has been forced on us,” Henderson said. “We have the best customers in the world, people that truly appreciate and identify with not only the unrivaled selection and depth of stock, but more with what Amoeba means as a tangible experience in today’s digitized society. It’s tragic that we won’t get one last party in this space, but we live another day and get to look forward to all tomorrow’s festivities at our new location.”