VAIL - The lease on Vail's last music and comics store expires at the end of this month. Whether it moves, or even survives, remains an open question.
The Robbins family has owned the store for the last 28 years. When they first bought the place - then in the old Crossroads shopping center - vinyl was still king, but being quickly displaced by compact discs. Today, though, vinyl albums have reclaimed a lot of shelf space in the Robbins' store, now located in West Vail next door to the Sandbar.
Still, this is a tough time to own a record store. That's why Tom Robbins is trying to include more comic books and graphic novels in the store's inventory.
David Holcomb of Vail is a loyal shopper through the comics racks at the shop, as is his son, Charles.
"I like having the physical book," Holcomb said. "It just feels more natural."
Holcomb said he and his young son will keep coming in as long as the Robbins family keeps the store open. But where that store might end up remains a question.
The family hasn't come to an agreement with the store's landlord about keeping the shop in its current location. A good month - including a good turnout for national Record Store Day April 21 - could help determine whether the store stays in Vail or not, Robbins said.
That event, put together by the music industry for independent record stores, makes a lot of special-edition merchandise available only to the small stores. Collectors tend to snap up those special items, Robbins said, and some have been known to make a tidy profit on the resale market.
If Eagle Valley Music and Comics does leave Vail, Robbins and his mom, Jeannie, have been scouting locations up and down the valley for new retail space. Eagle-Vail seems to make the most sense, Robbins said.
And while it might seem that an actual store selling music and comics faces an uphill road, Robbins said he's optimistic.
"The comics and vinyl (records) are still growing," he said. And Jeannie added that the store has regular customers who make the trip from Leadville and Glenwood Springs to shop.
Holcomb said he'll be willing to follow the store wherever it goes.
"They have the best customer service I've ever received," he said. "As long as Tom can be around, I'll be a customer."
Business Editor Scott N. Miller can be reached at 970-748-2930 or email@example.com.