Amoeba Music back in business in new location

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By Juliet Bennett Rylah

Contributing Writer

HOLLYWOOD — Amoeba Music reopened at its new location on Hollywood Boulevard at 11 a.m. April 1, marking the first time in more than a year that Los Angeles shoppers are able to visit the beloved record store since its Sunset Blvd. location closed last March due to the pandemic.

Amoeba Music was founded in Berkeley in 1990 and opened its Los Angeles location, replete with its eye-catching neon sign, in 2001. The shop served as both a place to buy, trade and sell music as well as a venue for major and up-and-coming acts to perform. Past performers include the metal band Ghost, who played an acoustic set in there in 2015, and singer-songwriter Angelica Garcia, who gave the shop’s last live show on March 11, 2020. Notably, in 2007, Paul McCartney performed a secret show at Amoeba Music, later releasing the set on the 2019 live album, “Amoeba Gig.”

In 2015, Amoeba sold the building to the developer GPI Cos. for $34 million, according to the Los Angeles Times. GPI plans to build an apartment tower on the site.

Amoeba Music announced its new Hollywood Boulevard address in February 2020 and had intended to say farewell to the Sunset location with a series of celebratory events last summer. However, Amoeba shut down in March along with all other nonessential retail in L.A. County and by late April, owners had decided to permanently shutter the Sunset Boulevard store and focus on moving to Hollywood Boulevard.

“Nobody could have anticipated the challenges this year brought for the world and we’ve been eager to get back to what we do best — hosting the world’s biggest selection of music, movies and ephemera for the community of Los Angeles and beyond,” Amoeba co-owner Jim Henderson said via a statement. “We’ve missed seeing our staff and everyone who visits us in person more than we can express and look forward to starting our third decade in Hollywood in the new space and creating more memories together.

Amoeba’s new location at 6200 Hollywood Blvd. is on the ground floor of El Centro, a mixed-use complex that also contains over 500 luxury apartments.

The shop will use color-coded pillars to denote various sections, including vinyl; CDs; DVDs and Blu-rays; books and posters; T-shirts; turntables and vinyl accessories and more. There’s also a stage for live events that features a mural painted by Shepard Fairey.

Overall, it’s a smaller space than the previous location, coming in at 23,000 square feet as opposed to the Sunset Boulevard store, which had 43,000 square feet. Yet, in terms of actual floor space, co-owner Marc Weinstein told Variety that they had only lost about a quarter of its former. The solution has been to stock some items in lower bins.

For the grand opening, Los Angeles-based artist Ivan Minsloff has created a new design for the event, which will be available on posters and T-shirts. Guests who make a purchase at the store will receive a free poster while supplies last.

Per current public health guidelines, only a limited number of people can browse the store at a given time. Guests can line up on Argyle Boulevard and wait for their turn to enter. Masks and social distancing are required and directional signs will help control traffic. Hand sanitizer will be provided.

Parking is available in the El Centro parking structure with validation for the first 75 minutes with an in-store purchase. Amoeba Music is also a very short walk from the Hollywood/Vine rail station.

Hours are currently Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Guests wishing to sell or trade items should know the buy counter closes at 7 p.m. Pickup is also available, though customers will have to wait in line to enter the store and pick up their merchandise at the registers.

Juliet Bennett Rylah is a freelance reporter who covers Hollywood and West Hollywood. She can be reached at jbrylah@gmail.com.