One Last Visit To My Local FYE

The embattled pop culture shop closes its Paramus Park, NJ location, which happens to be one of my regular spots

The FYE in Paramus Park, NJ closed today. (Photo collage: Ron Hart.)

Today was the last day of the last mall record shop in North Jersey, as the FYE in the Paramus Park mall closed its doors to the buying public for good at 5 PM this evening.

Fifteen years ago, there were no less than six major record store chains in Bergen County. Now there are none. But this particular space adjacent to Macy’s, which has always been some kind of record store since Paramus Park opened, did not go quietly into retail purgatory.

When I walked into this store for the very last time earlier today, the sparse space of what remained of the closing sale was bustling with longtime customers like myself bidding the store managers Mike and Evelyn adieu while enjoying one last dig. There were tears from one customer who snapped a selfie with the managers, sorrowful of the departure of this space where so many of us in the North Jersey have frequented on a random weeknight to rummage through their used CDs and DVDs for weird, deep gems. I spoke with several fellow patrons and absolutely all of them agreed the closing of this final mall record shop in North Jersey–though in its final years has slowly transitioned into more of a pop shop than music store, a cooler Spencer Gifts if you will–marks a true end of an era for music fans in the region.

The iconic grooved walls is indicative of this space’s rich history as a record shop in the Paramus Park mall. (Photo: Ron Hart)

Of course there are so many incredible independent stores nearby, namely Station One Records and Flipside Records & Tapes in Pompton Lakes and Fairfield’s Sound Exchange to name three. But there is something about the mall record shop–especially for us Xers–that was such a major cog in our collective formidable upbringing.  There was the arcade, the bookstore and the record shop–safe spaces for the bullied before they were given the official title of such. And while FYE, which still has several locations open across the country, is hardly Record World or Sam Goody or Nobody Beats The Wiz or CD World or Coconuts or our beloved, beloved Tower Records, it was still a great spot to stop in and look around. Plus, they allowed trade-ins, which is highly beneficial for customers like me to flip unwanted movies and albums for store credit, and they arguably have the most competitive buyback rates around to boot.

When I went in today, I was fortunate enough to bring home one last haul, taking advantage of the 50 % off Used CD sale; the fruits of which you can see just below.

FYE Paramus: My final haul. (Photo: Ron Hart)

Also, I’m not exactly a Funko Pop guy at all. However,  they were 60 % off and I found these two heroes while searching for a figure for my son.

Debbie Harry and Stewart Copeland Funko Pop figures
Debbie Harry and Stewart Copeland Funko Pop figures. (Photo: Ron Hart.)

I’m not happy my local FYE is gone. Luckily, knock knock, the one up at the Newburgh Mall upstate shall remain open and there’s the Rockaway Mall location as well. But it’s not down the street like my Paramus Park store was. Now I openly wonder if this vacuum in such a major artery of North Jersey shopping culture will be noticed by a business who could afford the lofty mall lease, like Newbury Comics or Rough Trade. As this packed little shop of well-wishers earlier today clearly indicates, people still very much love a record store inside the mall. And sorry, Urban Outfitters’ pathetic little inventory does not cut it for serious heads.

Until then, however, if you are in this North Jersey area, you know the other spots to hit. Let’s just consider ourselves grateful we still have these cherished community centers in our region, yeah?


VIDEO: Movie hunting couple film inside the FYE in Paramus Park

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Ron Hart

Ron Hart is the Editor-in-Chief of Rock and Roll Globe. Reach him on Twitter @MisterTribune.

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