By Dale Kasler
Russ Solomon says R5 Records Video, the store he founded after Tower Records folded, is still finding its way in a weak economy and a brutal climate for record stores.
"R5's doing OK. The record business today is tough. We've got our heads above water," Solomon said in an interview Sunday night after a rare public appearance in Sacramento.
Solomon was the first speaker in the new Sacramento Living Library series, which brings major figures from politics, the media and business to midtown used bookstore Time Tested Books. He spent 90 minutes charming an overflow crowd with stories about Tower and his assessment of the state of the industry.
"Why anybody would go into the record business today is beyond me," the 84-year-old Solomon told the audience.
Tower went out of business in December 2006, victimized by competition from big-box stores and the Internet. Solomon acknowledged that the company took on way too much debt during its growth phase, leaving it vulnerable when sales began faltering. The debt structure "was unsustainable," he said.
R5 opened in 2007 in the old Tower location on Broadway.
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