Grass Valley’s Record Connection to close; owner to retire |

Grass Valley’s Record Connection to close; owner to retire

Jennifer Terman
Staff Writer

One of the last local "one-stop" shops for music is set to close as the trend for large, big-box stores in the region continues to threaten small business.

Record Connection, a music store staple in Grass Valley for 28 years, is set to close within the next 90 days, said owner Jon Hess, who announced his retirement this week.

"It's a chunk of my life, and I'm sad. I'd like to somehow keep it going, but I guess those are the times we live in," Hess said.

The store originally opened in 1985 the Grass Valley Kmart Center and offered the largest supply of vinyl records and cassette tapes in Nevada County, Hess said. He also opened Nevada County's first BASS ticket outlet in 1988, when the store relocated to the Raley's Center.

“It’s a chunk of my life, and I’m sad.”

— Jon Hess, owner of Record Connection

With the transition of music over time, Record Connection updated its stock and fell in line with the current times with CDs, DVDs, electronic equipment and custom installation.

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But that was not enough to sustain the store amidst competition from larger stores and the Internet, Hess said.

"I don't have the buying power that big stores have, so it's difficult for me," Hess said. "If I'm down in the box-store pricing, I'm not making any money, so it's difficult to survive."

Hess said he witnessed the changing landscape of music consumption for the past several years.

"People get their music differently today," Hess said. "They download it. People don't go to music storesl. There's people that still do, but it's not like it once was."

Even the music man's own 14-year-old granddaughter is unfamiliar with record stores, he said.

"I don't think she's ever been in a record store," Hess said, adding that there has, however, been resurgence in vinyl.

"It's been the only growth side of anything in the music industry," Hess said. "I don't think it's a fleeting thing, but things come and go, so you never know how long."

Hess bought the building at the current location at 455 Sutton Way in 2000 and sold bits of the buildings on the property over time. He said he tried to sell the Record Connection over the course of the past five years and has put the building space where Record Connection resides up for sale for about a year.

"That'll be on the market until it sells," Hess said, adding the date of the store's closure depends on how long it takes to sell the remaining merchandise. "I'm estimating around 90 days."

Hess said he has no concrete retirement plans, but toyed with the idea of getting a part-time job to stay busy, or perhaps opening a reduced version of Record Connection in a smaller location.

"Maybe in the downtown Grass Valley area, but I don't know at this point in time," he said.

Though Hess is sad to see the store close, he was grateful for the store's contribution to the community in its 28 years of operation.

"I certainly have many business memories, but I'm happiest about what we were able to do in our community — everything from fundraisers, to 26-year softball team sponsorships and all of the young people we were able to employ over the past 28 years," Hess said. "It's very rewarding to know that we helped them just a little bit in becoming the great adults, parents and professionals that they are today."

"It's been a good run and a good time and we had a lot of great employees and customers," Hess said. "It's about time for me to think about something else."

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call 530-477-4230.

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