Volume 75, Number 33 | January 4 - 10, 2006

Accidental CD’s happens upon a space on St. Mark’s

Accidental CD’s owner Craig Lopez and Rachel Allen with Lopez’s dog Vaca in the store’s new location at 120 St. Mark’s Pl.
Villager photo by Bob Arihood

It wasn’t such an accident that Accidental CD’s, Records and Tapes recently moved from its home of 10 years on Avenue A around the corner into a St. Mark’s Pl. storefront formerly occupied by an artists’ commune.

The 24-hour store’s owner, Craig Lopez, said the timing was right for the move.

“My lease was up in April coming up,” he said. “The rent was already pretty high and they wanted to increase it even higher. So I wanted to get out a little early, because winter isn’t exactly my busiest time. They wanted about $5,000 a month. I was already up to $4,350.”

Lopez said conditions had changed since when he moved into his former Avenue A space in 1996. A major factor was Mayor Bloomberg’s raising building owners’ property taxes a few years ago, which tacked on about $1,000 a month rent for him under his lease’s real estate escalation clause.

Jim “Mosaic Man” Power — who is known for decorating the East Village’s light posts and who lives in the St. Mark’s Pl. building — played a role in the deal, but Lopez didn’t provide details. Lopez hopes to be in the space for a while, but said there’s no telling if he might make another move in six months or so.

In addition to new and used CD’s, records and tapes, the store also vends books, videos and T-shirts — all of which Lopez buys from distributors and closeout sales — and also rents videos and DVD’s.

“It’s cheaper than Tower or H.M.V. or all those stores,” he said.

Affecting business has been the boom in pirated music.

“It’s a very different market from when I opened 10 years ago,” Lopez said. “Downloading has dropped my CD sales about 95 percent. That’s why we’re selling more books, movie DVD’s, T-shirts, cassettes. When I first opened, I’d sell up to 150 CD’s a day. That has dropped off dramatically. I sell 10, and you’re like, ‘Ten CD’s that great.’ ”

The store has been selling online the last six years, and for the last three years online sales have outpaced in-store sales.

As for his former space, Lopez said he hears it’s not rented yet, but he’s hoping it will be a nail salon so he won’t have to feel any more attachment to it.

“I know a nail salon was looking at it,” he said. “It’d be funnier that way.”

Lincoln Anderson

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