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Zone Music in Cotati to Close, Downsize

Posted by on Aug 9, 2010 | Comments (9)

The rumors are true: Zone Music in Cotati is closing its doors.

But they’ll open again soon, promises owner Frank Hayhurst.

The venerable music store which since 1983 has seen the likes of Neil Young, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Jeff Beck as customers is downsizing its inventory and floor space to reopen sometime in the future, possibly with a different name but most likely in the same general spot, Hayhurst tells me.

“Cotati is a great community and a perfect location for a music store—it’s the heart of Sonoma County,” he says. “We’re looking at closing for a short while to remodel, but haven’t picked the exact dates yet, because there are many variables. We need to rescale, but it shouldn’t take too long.”

Whatever the future holds, the new store will focus instead on the things that still make money in an online age—guitars, accessories, used gear, consignments—in a remodeled, “much smaller” shop. “Basically,” says Hayhurst, “the old model of a full line music store doesn’t work in this current economy.”

Last week, customers reported the shelves at Zone being bare, and employees saying that the store was “going under.” The news came as a shock to those who’ve patronized the popular, well-loved store over the past 28 years—with most of the finger-pointing directed at online megastores like Musician’s Friend.

But even when Zone offered competitive price-matching with online merchants, “it’s 10% more expensive to shop with a local retailer than making the same purchase online,” says Hayhurst. “That’s the sales tax inequity issue.”

Several businesses surround Zone Music, and will stay open. Zone Recording, run by studio veteran Blair Hardman, will continue to record bands, singers, commercial jingles, books on tape and all manner of audio projects. Backstage Audio, run by fix-it whiz Kent Fossgreen, will continue to fix amps, guitars, keyboards and all manner of musical instruments.

A used vinyl LP store is moving in on the premises as well.

Even in tough times, while Zone restructures, Hayhurst says he hasn’t lost his passion for the business in Sonoma County. “My favorite visiting musicians have been the working musicians of the North Bay Area,” he remarks. “They are my inspiration. Oh, and the kids! Hearing kids rock always brightens my day.”


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9 comments

  1. Adam
    August 9, 2010

    NOOOOO!!!!

    Reply
  2. Coalmine
    August 9, 2010

    I was going to say something sarcastic and poorly witted, but decided against it in homage.

    Reply
  3. Laurie
    August 9, 2010

    Horrible, depressing news. This economy SUCKS.

    Reply
  4. James
    August 10, 2010

    Both of my basses came from this oasis. All these local businesses closing is bad news. It’s like small pieces of my soul are flickering out of existence.

    Reply
  5. Shane
    August 10, 2010

    Wow, that’s too bad…

    Reply
  6. Josh
    August 10, 2010

    Zone is so much more than a shop. People really came together and crafted a community there. Fairs, markets, live music… They proudly sponsored my ‘zine, The Pharmakon, over a year… they will be sorely missed!

    Reply
  7. Douger Keller
    August 16, 2010

    Sucks seeing another indy close its doors. Only means less choices for us musicians. Bananas at Large from San Rafael is opening in old Stars/Music X location in Santa Rosa, let’s support local.

    Reply
  8. Stan Larson
    September 6, 2010

    I shop for all my music gear at Midi Music in Santa Rosa. The store has been there over 10 years! Great store, great owner!

    Reply
  9. DONNA SUTHARD
    October 7, 2010

    WE ARE SORRY THAT ZONE HAS CLOSED …
    BEST BUYS AND OTHER HUGE DRAGONS HAVE TAKEN OFF THE LIVES OF SMALL MUSIC STORES …
    I SHOP AT GRANMAS ATTIC MUSIC STORE BY TRADER JOES..IT IS A COMFORTABLE AND GREAT LITTLE STORE..OWNERS ARE FANTASTIC MUSICIANS AND VERY HELPFUL..QUALITY AND PRICES GREAT…

    AGAIN SOOO SORRY THAT FRANK HAD TO SHUT DOWN ZONE…

    DONNA

    Reply

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