With the world still revolving and yet feeling as if we are spiraling into darkness, it's imperative to hold onto any beauty that we are able to find and hold onto each other any which way that we are able. I mention this because I have a short story to share with you that I haven't written about as of yet.
On the rainy morning of Monday, November 28, 2016, my friend and B-Side Records proprietor Steve Manley was riding his bike his way to the store when his bicycle tire became lodged in between some train tracks causing him to slip and fall, thus breaking his hip in two places and fracturing his elbow. As Manley is the sole employee of the store, this most unfortunate event presented itself as a frightening setback as he was facing surgery and would be forced to remain out of the store for the duration of the winter months, obviously threatening the store's survival.
Unbeknownst to Manley, his son Brendan (songwriter/drummer/guitarist of three Madison based bands, Post Social, Dash Hounds and Squarewave) began a Go Fund Me page as a fundraiser to help support the store for the three months Steve would be convalescing at home. The desired financial goal was $6000. Within a mere 24 hours, the Manley family and B-Side amassed three times as much in donations, culminating in a final total of $25,000 by the time the fundraiser concluded.
This money not only allowed the store to remain open, it allowed the Manley family to hire and pay support staff (from former employees to even the members of Dash Hounds, including singer/songwriter/guitarist/bassist Alivia Kleinfeldt), pay the bills and even have a taste left over for Steve to perhaps take a day off in the future if need be.
All of this occurred between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and certainly the entire Bedford Falls/George Bailey sentiments were more than apparent to everyone whose spirits felt supremely lifted by the news, mostly, I would imagine, Steve Manley himself, a man who is undeniably humble and would probably shun all of the attention.
But, what made my heart swell was how an entire community came together to share the the news of the fundraiser and to also find ways to contribute to this cause. It saved a store but it was about so much more than brick and mortar. It was about a man, his family and his livelihood and how his passion and efforts provided a service to countless people for over thirty years (myself included), and how that service provided music and most importantly, priceless memories for every person who walked through the B-Side door.
I am telling this story because this month on Saturday, April 22nd, the annual Record Store Day event will grace us once again and as always, I wish for you to try and carve out some time our of your busy lives to just visit a local business, a place of musical discovery, a place that invites you to venture inside and create some new memories within a public space where everyone is creating new memories.
I really believe that the outpouring of support for Steve and B-Side came from something much deeper inside everyone who contributed and I believe further still that if any of our other local record stores--Mad City Music Exchange, Strictly Discs, Sugar Shack--found themselves in similar dire straits, the community would race to their aid in a most similar fashion. I know that I would because of the memories I have from each place that entirely stemmed from my on-going search for new music.
As of now--April 2017--Steve Manley is firmly back upon his two legs and feet and it is a sight that I could not have wished to see more!! Steve is a longtime friend of mine and yes, if I had the means and were able, I would have saved the store single-handedly solely because of what this store has meant to me ever since I was 18 years old and entered it for the very first time, a journey that I have continued to make ever since...and blessedly so.
Support the establishments that allow us all to discover new music and create new, lasting memories in the process. And with whatever you discover...