After more than two decades of selling guitars, amps and drums to a fiercely loyal group of customers, Rockit Music in Brea will soon close for good. Though he declined to name a specific date, owner Ian Williams said the store will likely shut its doors in two weeks.
"I think it's a fait accompli. The Internet's taking over, and it's hurt sales," says Williams. "Between Amazon and eBay it seems to be the way of the world."
Rockit Music first opened in La Habra in 1986, then moved to a larger location in Whittier. In 2001, the store moved to its current location across from the Brea Mall, where it competed with big-box retailer Guitar Center for more than 10 years.
For this Feral blogger/curmudgeon, Rockit's closing is a big loss for the music community. I bought my first guitar there, a cream-colored Fender Squire, and took lessons for two years, where I was taught both theory and technique. I'm not alone in lamenting the store's closing.
"I've been going to Rockit since I started playing," says Eric Bootow, bassist for local band Sederra, who, along with his brother Troy of the band Death Hymn Number 9, took lessons as a teenager. "All the teachers there were amazing. They weren't half-assed or just knew enough to get by. Those guys all ripped."
Though it didn't share the same sized inventory as Guitar Center, Rockit made up for its smaller stature with quality gear and personal service. Customers were constantly seen casually shooting the shit with employees on subjects ranging from the latest gear to the intricacies of musical theory.
"I'd stop by Rockit just to hang out. It was like Cheers," says Bootow, who remembered seeing one of the members from the Black Crowes while trying out a guitar. "As an asshole, I played [Black Crowes song] 'She Talks to Angels.' He ran out of there."
For Williams, Rockit's closing is one more fallen soldier in a war of attrition being won by the Internet. Though the digital age has benefited consumers in many ways, he says, it has hit brick-and-mortar music retailers hard in recent years.
"I don't think anyone's immune from it," he says. "I just don't see it turning around any time soon."