I miss book, music and movie stores

This is an old a picture of the now defunct Hastings store in Greeley Colorado. Things being how they are today with technology and whatnot, forced this store to close a couple of years ago around 2012.  Hastings was one of my favorite stores to frequent. They sold new and used books, music, and movies, as well as a hodgepodge of other items appealing to musicians, skaters, geeks, gamers, and pop culture fanatics. I can honestly say that there was something for everyone in this store.

My world was truly shaken when I learned the news that Hastings Greeley was closing. From the sound of it, employees were just as shocked by the news as I was. They were told of the bad news just two days prior to when the general public was notified. Apparently their lease was up, and the landlord found another tenant that wanted to take over the retail space. Rather than move to a new location, folks at corporate decided to cut their losses and close the store.

Conventional wisdom dictates that this is another classic case of how technology is changing the landscape of the retail market, in regards to virtually every type of media. Like everyone else, Hastings has seen their video rental business steadily decrease thanks to Red Box, Netflix, and on demand programming. Retail publication and music sales also continue to falter because of digital downloads. I guess stores like Hastings, Borders, and Barnes and Noble are becoming dinosaurs in this day and age.  It's a simple fact that can't be denied, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.

I'm old school. I love to spend hours browsing through music, book, magazine, and movie sections in stores. However, being able to do so is becoming harder and harder to do. An e-book just doesn't do it for me, nor does an electronic copy of an album, or streaming movies from my phone. Mind you, I'm not opposed to technology, I just don't believe that we need to replace all media with convenient streamlined digital alternatives. Everything we need is now becoming immediately available. I can already see myself and many others close to me becoming inpatient and anxious, all for the sake of immediate gratification. 

I could go on and on forever about digital vs. traditional media, but I think I'll cool it for now. Instead, let's take a look at a few things that made stores like Hastings so great..

Hastings - Books
What's better than browsing through a book store, knowing that there are all kinds of hidden treasures you never knew existed just waiting to be found?

Hastings - Kids Section
I loved taking my kids to book stores like this and letting them pick out books that we could read together.  Sadly, the feel of many book stores these days are less than inviting.

Hastings - Board Games
These boxes contain something called 'Board Games'.  It's a strange concept, but these are non electronic games of strategy and chance, played by following a set of pre determined rules. It's what folks used to do for fun before Angry Birds and X-Box.

Hastings - Music section

A cornucopia of music that you can pick up, see, and feel.  There's something to be said for an LP or  CD with its dust jacket that can include lyrics, stories and insight from the artist's themselves, and of course, the cover art.

Hastings - Rental Movie section
I'm thinking Red Box doesn't have quite as extensive of a movie selection as this store had.

Hastings Vinyl LPs 
A lot of new artists are getting their new albums pressed to vinyl these days in addition to digital and compact disc.  When Hastings closed, the places to find new vinyl in these parts are far and few between.

Hastings Comic Book Section

I am a child of the 70s and 80s, and therefore appreciate a good comic book. Hastings had a large section of floor space dedicated to new and old comics, as well as other comic related merchandise like action figures, collectibles, and apparel. At the time of Hastings closing, the town of Greeley Colorado was left without a single comic book store, which had me going through some serious withdrawals. 

I can't tell you how many oddball and wacky pop culture items I bought from Hastings over the years. Great items like these pictured below were always readily available for purchase.. 

Bacon Air Freshener
Cover up that nasty new car scent with bacon air freshener

Zombie and Brain Jell-o Molds
Zombie Brain and Heart gelatin molds will ensure that your next dinner party will be a hit!

All purpose Luchador Mask
A Lucha Libre wrestling mask 
should be a staple in every man's wardrobe

Nunzilla.. a fire breathing, spark spitting wind up toy.
I ended up buying this

Herman Munster Action Figure
One of the coolest retro action figures I've ever seen

Twilight Zone "Mystic Seer" 
Twilight Zone 'Mystic Seer'
This is just like the little fortune telling machine that William Shatner got addicted to using in the 1960 Twilight Zone episode "Nick of Time". I almost bought this cool little unit, but couldn't pull the trigger because he still kinda freaks me out after all of these years.

ZOMBIEZ 'Eat Flesh'
Wicked cool tees and geek-wear were always abundant

Headwear for Geeks
Assortment of headwear for the discerning geek 

Yes.. Hastings was way more than just a video and music store.  It felt as if they went out of their way to appeal to the masses, and it truly was an end of an era when they closed. They are still sorely missed by many Greeley residents, and surely will be for a long time to come.

Update 10/10/2023 
Hastings filed for bankruptcy somewhere around 2016 sealing their fate and in a sense, ending an era for many. I read this article now that I penned almost a decade ago and can't believe how much things have changed since then.

While I originally had a bit of an aversion to the shift in how we were starting to consume media, I must admit I do not purchase as much these days apart from retro video games, books and the occasional LP. I am indeed much less patient than I used to be, and it has everything to do with how I consume my information, entertainment and news. It's for this reason that I force myself to grab the occasional newspaper, crossword puzzle book, play vintage games, and shoot analog photos.

In my humble opinion, we must occasionally force ourselves to slow down and take pause. Our brains need the occasional break from the constant bombardment of information we are exposed to. Retro media formats and using antiquated tech is a great way to accomplish this. I really want to cover some of the ways I do this personally, so keep an eye out.