Side A: the sale. Side B: judicial liquidation. Unless there is a backup time to freeze the debts. In any case, the refrain sung by Hit import (11, rue de Lépante), will no longer have the sound of before. The disc is scratched. The future of one of the last independent record stores in Nice and even on the Côte d’Azur is in jeopardy.
In great difficulty for several months, the brand communicated on social networks: « The profession of record store as we have practiced it for forty-three years is long dead. We have always made the choice to offer new items, subject to competition that has become unfair… »
The address of connoisseurs
End of the verse. In the bins, the albums of Nirvana, Iron Maiden, Jimi Hendrix, Iggy Pop, Pink Floyd, Marvin Gaye, The Doors and many others, sizzle under the dull tip of the record player of a changing economic life. The diamond is not eternal. However, behind this sign popular with rock, hard rock and heavy metal fans, there is demand. Marc, a regular at the place, is a hardcore fanatic: « Here, I find everything I’m looking for and those who are there, I’ve been seeing them for years, like Philippe, whom I met in Sasserno. »
Hit import. A musical story. A human adventure. Taking their agreements, first in 1980 at 17 rue Gioffredo. Then in 1987, in Lepanto, in a former furniture business. The conductor? Jean-Paul Galliano. The incarnate sweetness, despite the harshness of the tracks that shake the turntables. A musician. Guitarist. Singer. Unrelated to accordionist Richard Galliano. « At the time, it was only vinyl, blows his son Cédric, and he took the rock and hard rock direction. »
Philippe, a teenager as much as a client, becomes his employee. Always there anyway. As addicted to big sound as his boss. Ludo joins them. Then Christophe, who then founded the Corpus delicti group. All contribute to the strong and expert image of the establishment. « We were going to London, Italy to bring back rare records and products »remembers Jean-Paul.
Selling at a loss
Vinyl pads. Then the CDs. « Until 2005, it was the golden age of the CD. Vinyl was then in decline before coming back in force three, four years ago. The store was full. » But that was before. Before the collapse of the CD, struck down by the download. Plus the rest: post-Covid inflation, cost of raw materials, big rent, pressure on charges, taxes. Those generated in particular by Brexit scramble the sound with the official suppliers of the United Kingdom. Soaring prices. Shrinking margins. « Selling new vinyl for 40 euros instead of 15 or 20 is more difficult. » And then, doors close, especially in the United States, where « agreements between record companies prohibit Hit import to use directly across the Atlantic ». Forced to buy in France… Much more expensive…
« On sales of new products, we sell at a loss and we can no longer buy imports, which was our specificity. » The irony? « It’s not because there is no or no more demand, it’s structural. » In fact, activity is not silenced. But to all the economic problems is added competition from streaming: « For a subscription of 6 or 7 euros, you have access to all the live music, sorry Jean-Paul. The sound is not good for enthusiasts, but for others, it’s okay. » Finally, Hit import had a website, but it closed because deliveries weren’t free like other Amazon-style giants.
A LP bar?
SO? « So maybe we need to transform the structure. » The store will close. When? « We do not know yet. » As for the change, it could go through the acquisition of a local nearby, where Jean-Paul and his two pillar employees for four decades, would convert into a formula mixing a small musical bar-restaurant. A kind of cafe-record store, « but it remains a project and we will not be able to keep the same stock area ».