Down Home Music Leaves Fourth Street

By Judith Scherr
Thursday June 26, 2008 - 09:25:00 AM

After only 11 months in Berkeley, Down Home Music is moving out of its Fourth Street store. 

John McCord, who manages the 32-year-old El Cerrito Down Home store, which will remain open, said they had expected that the Fourth Street store would do at least as well as Hear, the Starbucks-owned CD store that was previously located in the same space.  

“We had a good holiday season,” McCord said, adding that too many people come to browse rather than buy. “The economy has a lot to do with it—CD sales are down everywhere. It’s hard to compete with the Internet.” 

The move is not reflective of the economic health on Fourth Street, where a second Crate and Barrel store is about to set up shop, said Dave Fogarty, Berkeley’s economic development manager. 

McCord said Down Home tried a slightly different mix of music on Fourth Street. “We tried to tailor it to the clientele down there,” he said, making available more Latin, jazz, and pop CDs and less country music than at the El Cerrito store. 

The move “has left us with debts,” McCord said. However, Down Home founder and owner Chris Strachwitz, also proprietor of the folk record label Arhoolie Records, is dedicated to keeping the El Cerrito store open, McCord said. “There’s a lot of good music out there,” he said. 

A second Crate and Barrel, known as CB2 will move into the old Cody’s on Fourth Street location, with offerings such as furniture. The Crate and Barrel outlet will continue at its location across the street, Fogarty said.