As a preface, I want to state up front that whenever a local business closes, I generally believe that to be a bad thing. I understand how dreams, economic stability, emotions and more go into any family business venture and that the failure of ambition to sustain itself can be rough. Getting that out of the way, here's where I'm likely to upset someone.
Every few weeks, it seems like we're writing on The Range about a restaurant, club, boutique or something closing down. This week, it's the preemptive notice that Toxic Ranch is set to close their existing location at the end of the year. Maybe they'll move to a new space (they mentioned in their Facebook post about the news that they were distressed by the area's "gentrification" and considering going online only), but it's possible that one of the last non-chain record stores in town might be no more.
I'm assuming, however, that someone from the conservative media will pick up on this news at some point and say "See, Tucson is unfriendly to business! This proves it!" Inevitably, this person will probably have no idea what they're talking about, having never been to Toxic Ranch to complete their collection of Mission of Burma vinyl or whatever. This exact situation came up when we reported on the closing of The Underestimated City last month, as the store's owners' complaint that the streetcar construction played a role in its demise resonated with the "doom and gloom" set.
Personally, I agree at times that Tucson can be tough on business owners. There are sometimes too many hoops to jump through or never-ending construction projects to survive. However, sometimes places just close. In the case of The Underestimated City, they're already looking at new locations, not all that far from their old spot. Toxic Ranch, while legendary in a lot of ways, is still a record store in a brutal market for music as a physical product. Awhile back, I heard talk show hosts mourning the loss of Sharks downtown, which no one should have shed a tear for.
It's absolutely acceptable to look at places when they shut down and think about what that means for our community, but if you lack the perspective to do so intelligently, spare us the trouble and go back to complaining about potholes.
Dan Gibson can be heard on Fook Music Mornings on 92.1 FM KFMA most Tuesdays around 8 a.m. and on the John C. Scott show Thursday afternoons on 1030 AM KVOI.