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The end of Independent Records, an inside look at the days leading up

'It's not the biggest world, but its still a huge world for Colorado Springs'
Posted at 9:03 AM, Oct 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-03 11:03:25-04

COLORADO SPRINGS — Independent Records closed the doors of its last location for the final time on Saturday, September 30 to the dismay of its supporting music lovers.

"It feels very personal ... like it hurts," said Jameson Becker, a local musician and Independent Records regular.

The store provided Colorado Springs with music, movies, and other media for more than 45 years, often offering a space for labels and artists not carried by other record stores in the area, according to staff and customers alike. One such feature included the store's section dedicated to local and independent artists.

"[Customers] have cried, they have told us many memories of their life with this place and what it's meant to them," said Hollie Sherwood, a former manager at Independent Records.

She said the record experience is often treated as a musical "ceremony" or "ritual" where time is spent dedicated to listening.

"Going home, opening up a record, reading the liner notes, listening to an album from the first song to the last song, the way it was intended," said Bryan Ostrow, an Independent Records customer and owner of What's Left Records, while describing the vinyl experience.

The customers are not the only ones feeling the hurt of losing the store. The staff, who all compared each other to family, said the days leading up to the closure have been heavy with emotion.

"I'm numb. It's been difficult to fully embrace it," said Matt Gehrung, a former manager at Independent Records.

For Matt, this closure is literally a family matter. Two of his daughters and one of his daughter's boyfriends also worked for the store prior to the closure.

"I wish I could've told the owner before he passed that I'm really grateful that he gave me a chance here," said Emily Gehrung, a former employee at Independent Records and Matt's daughter.

Orville Lambert, the sole and final owner of Independent Records, passed away on August 24 at 78-years-old. His passing left the fate of the business teetering for the last few months between ownership by Lambert's estate executor and a potential purchase by Matt and Sherwood.

"He wasn't here for like two months. One, maybe, random afternoon he'd come in. He could barely walk, and we watched the demise of him," said Sherwood.

She described him as a mathematical genius known for making incredible, albeit financially questionable, decisions to keep the business afloat. When he was in good health, Sherwood said, he would be at the store before opening and after closing nearly every day.

"People put their essence into their belongings; so, when you part with that belonging some of your essence is, maybe, imprinted on that," said Matt while reflecting on the value some collectors assign to used vinyl. In many ways, losing the store is losing the essence of Lambert for these employees.

"You want to be able to carry on somebody you love's dying wishes," said Sherwood.

The store is closed, however, Sherwood said there may be potential for a revival in the future.

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