I discovered Hastings, in all places Spokane Washington while dating a woman with snakes for pets. At that time they had four places up there, some old grocery store, one in a strip mall near the woods and one way over East Spokane. And it turns out that Hastings could rival Wherehouse Music for off the wall bargains, and cut out sold on the cheap. It turned out that on the next Arizona vacation after breaking up with the snake lady, that Hastings had plenty of them stores in the smaller Arizona towns, that didn't have a Zia's Records nor Rockaway or FYE, which eventually did buy out Wherehouse Music and then they too begin the long decline of closing stores and leaving behind empty buildings. Hastings did have a store in Iowa, which was in Ames and for a few years I managed to turn the car west on highway 30 and spend a couple hours sorting through plenty of used CDs and taking home a pile. Every time I think I took home about 10 at the very least. Hastings would close Hastings down in 2010. So basically I just planned to do a yearly Arizona getaway and just hit the ones that I knew in Arizona. Usually, I'd start at Prescott, go up highway 89 to Flagstaff, then down Route 66 country to Kingman, Bullhead City and then Lake Havasu City. The latter town always seems to have a more varied bunch of CDs some as cheap as a quarter. I managed to find a John Coltrane/Miles Davis Duet import CD for 49 cents that made a very nice soundtrack to the barren landscape of Route 66 as I drove into California back around 2012 I think.
While Hastings was terrible about promoting new music, they did somehow sold cheaper CDs than the big box stores such as FYE or Best Buy. I managed to find Nina Simone Sings The Blues and Jeff Beck Wired for 3.99 new. In Flagstaff in 2009 (or 2010) after the roof collapsed after a major snowfall, Hastings rented out the old K Mart and I managed to score cutouts such as the Complete Velvet Underground Live At Max's Kansas City and Forever Changes by Love for 3.99. The 2 CD Marshall Crenshaw Best of was bought for 1.99. Wet Willie's hard to find Capricorn CDs was gotten on the cheap too. The main reason why I went to Hastings, whatever the case may have been somebody would bring a hard to find album or CD and I would come across it.
The glory CD years of the 1990s and early 2000s Hastings was the place to go to, if you were living in a smaller town, it was the only place to go to, but as the world begin to start living more from the computer and at home, Hastings was struggling even back then. It was a disappointment for me after going to Ames in 2010 and seeing that they closed that store and I haven't been back to Ames since then. Flagstaff was closed in 2013. And the closest one was 3 and half hours away in Kirksville Missouri which I did make one final road trip to see what they have in 2014.
In June Hastings announced they were going under chapter 11 bankruptcy and was hoping to find a buyer. Nobody was interested and this week Hastings announced that they were closing all stores and ended up getting two shady liquidator firms specializing in going out of business sales which announced that as of this week everything was for sale at 30 percent off (pending the usual shady deals of marking of marking prices up so you are thinking you're getting bargains which you are still paying higher costs). All sales are final, no more new stuff would be forthcoming and no more of Hastings taking in used stuff to sell.
I considered either getting on a plane to Arizona to visit the last four Hastings stores I used to go to, or drive three and half hours to Kirksville but in the end I came to conclude that it was not cost effective and it's not much fun going to a store that's going out of business and knowing that it would be the last time I'd be there. FYE in Coral Ridge and Southpark Mall comes to mind.
So in the end, I rather much remember the memories of jumping in the car at the Motel 6 in Kingman to drive down to Stockton Hill Road at that Hastings location to hang out till closing time. Or flying through Bullhead City to see the oversized Hastings sign greeting the weary traveler looking for that cheap CD fix. But in the past 15 years I have seen many stores go by the wayside, each closing more prominent than the others, Wherehouse Music gone, CD Warehouse gone, Tower Records gone, Django Music gone, Borders gone, and FYE on life support but I'm sure I'll be writing their obituary sooner than expected. The only used store that continues to hang in there is Half Priced Books and here's hoping that they will stay around longer. With the closing of Hastings Entertainment, it is a major death knell, a continuation of the shrinkage of stores that sell used videos or CDs, Books and Magazines that was a social gathering for the young and bored at the local small towns. They might have gotten a bad knock by the music snobs or preppies who wouldn't be caught dead in there but for myself it was a continuance of discovering new music on the cheap. At this point in music life, there isn't going to be another store to take its place, unless you're a antique store selling at a higher profit.
But I won't be at any of the liquidation sales going on at the 123 Hastings stores, to which all will be history on Halloween 2016. This tribute to Hastings from memory will have to do.
I'll miss you Hastings. Thanks for the music and memories.
(Side note: Hastings was sold to Draw Another Circle which acquired too many other stores (Moie Stop was one of them) and due to their overbuying was cause for the bankruptcy proceedings.)