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Hitt Street Records expands into 9th Street Video’s former space

The expansion comes in time for Record Store Day.

By Nat Kaemmerer | April 16, 2016

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Although the signs on the building still read “9th Street Video” and “Hitt Street Records,” only Hitt Street Records remains. The expansion of Hitt Street Records came just in time for Record Store Day on Saturday.

9th Street Video, first located on Ninth Street and then on Hitt Street next to Ragtag Cinema and Uprise Bakery, had been open for about 23 years until its closure on April 2. Many have come in asking where the video store went since its closure seemed so sudden.

“We knew basically since last summer that (the owner of 9th Street Video) would retire, so we had time to prepare,” Hitt Street Records owner Kyle Cook says. “But two weeks ago, it was a functioning video store. It’s weird.”

Cook says the videos from 9th Street Video may start going on sale in the next couple weeks.

As the last remaining video rental store in Columbia, the store’s closing means saying goodbye to that era. It was where people used to go to find out about underground or independent film, back in the early 2000s before internet streaming existed.

“The internet was a resource if you wanted to read about something,” Cook says. “No one was streaming yet. I got to know all the clerks here, and it was the same with Ragtag.”

Cook is one of two owners, along with Taylor Bacon, of Hitt Street Records, which opened in 2012. Their store used to just be the small top floor of the building, but now they have had the opportunity to expand and spread out. Short wooden shelves filled with records now sit in place of tall shelves of movies.

“It allows for sections and some room to breathe,” Cook says. “The whole shop used to be upstairs, and the bins were so packed that you had to pull stuff out to look at it.”

The top floor is still remarkably full, but now houses more of what Cook calls “niche sections,” like country or jazz. It’s a pretty even mix of used and new records on both floors for now.

“We’re adding more records daily,” Hitt Street Records employee Eric Butterwick says. “Perfecting the stock is an endless task.”

While Columbia is still feeling the loss of 9th Street Video, the expansion of the record store comes at a good time for Record Store Day. According to the event’s website, since 2008, record stores have been celebrating the event with concerts and special release records. Now, record stores on all continents except Antarctica celebrate their own holiday.

Every year, Record Store Day is a big event for Hitt Street Records. On Saturday, bands played on the roof of the Hitt Street Records building, and there were around 50 exclusive titles for the day. The event featured both Harold’s and Strange Donuts, Pizza Tree, Mugs Up root beer and Sparky’s Ice Cream. At 10 p.m., the store projected the film “Be Kind Rewind” as a tribute to 9th Street Video.

The store is open every day from noon to 8 p.m., but on Record Store Day, it opened at 10 a.m. Cook says there are even more expanded hours to come, and that the store will eventually be open later on Fridays and Saturdays.

“Right now, we’re focusing on what we’re good at,” Cook says.

Edited by Katie Rosso | krosso@themaneater.com

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