The Midlothian store opened in 1998. Two full-time Plan 9 employees and several part-time employees have been laid off because of its closing, Bland says. The store’s manager, Mark Brown, will take over the flagship store in Carytown. Plan 9 will continue to operate its stores in Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and Williamsburg.
There are big changes in the business to contend with, Bland admits. One of the biggest problems with the industry is with singles, he says. The record industry moved away from singles when it went to a digital format. Customers, however, were unmoved. And since they can no longer buy them, they download them. “When they only want the single and it’s not available in stores,” Bland asks, “who can blame them?”
He says his company has taken numerous steps to develop niche products and services to compete, including selling new and used DVDs, print products and going online to sell rare and collectable recordings. In January, Plan 9 stopped publishing its in-house music magazine, 9x, in print form, making it a Web-only publication.
“We do have to make business decisions when they present themselves,” Bland says of the Midlothian closing. As for Carytown, he says, “We have no intention other than to continue to grow that store,” he says. — Wayne Melton
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