Curse you, economic downturn!
Sigh... I knew its Edmonton location had gone dark, but I never thought the company itself was finished. Maybe its time had come. Maybe, judging from the notice on the site, its time had come three years ago, and it just took that long to die.
Was it Internet piracy? Was it iTunes? Was it Best Buy? Or was it the fact that no matter how excellent the service, how excellent the selection, or how excellent the quality, one shouldn't make preferred customers out of 17-year-olds with disposable income? When they're paying you thousands of dollars for the stereo system in their $500 car, but still rhyme "bass" with "crass", perhaps the party can't last forever.
Ah, but now I'm the one being crass, so I won't analyse the situation further. All I know is that for one of my very first road trips to Calgary, I stepped inside their beautiful downtown building, and saw more music than I'd ever seen in my life. Back then, I didn't listen to much music at all that wasn't taken from musicals, but there, I saw just how small my corner of the world was. In Regina, the staff pointed me towards Ben Folds' Fear Of Pop, Vol. I, which might have single-handedly determined my musical tastes for the rest of my life. And in Edmonton, their downtown location was literally an eight-block walk from my condo. Small wonder, then, that half my home theatre, half my DVD collection, and my precious, precious digital camera all came from 106th Street.
So, adieu and bon voyage, A&B Sound. Wal-Mart might offer a three-dollar discount on the latest blockbuster. You offered the Criterion Collection. As far as I'm concerned, there's no debate who won that battle.