COLUMBUS — Business was steady on a recent Wednesday afternoon at Bogey’s Music.
Owner Tom Bogus spent the day installing a stereo in a Dodge Dakota pickup, selling a few copies of Tom Petty’s newest album and talking music — from Jimmie Rodgers to the “Ragin’ Cajun” Doug Kershaw — with a handful of customers who stopped in during the hourlong stretch.
It’s clear Bogus still has a passion for music nearly 30 years after opening his downtown store.
But business simply isn’t the same.
The days when customers lined up down the street to purchase cassettes after Poison released its second album are gone. The 1990s CD boom, when four employees were needed at the front counter to keep up with sales around Christmastime, is also a thing of the past.
Bogus employed nine people at his 2509 13th St. business at one time, before Napster introduced the world to illegal downloading and iTunes began offering an a-la-carte selection that can’t be matched by mom-and-pop music stores.
For the past couple of years, Bogus has run the business as a solo operation.
“That alone tells you what’s happened,” said Bogus, who quietly closed Bogey’s Music on Saturday, ending a nearly 30-year run in the music business and leaving the city without a record store for the first time in decades.
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Technology has certainly affected the industry since the Columbus man opened Bogey’s 11th Street Music in September 1986 before moving to the 13th Street location six years later.
When Bogus left his job at another local music store to start his own business at the age of 37, there were six other places to buy music in town.
His retirement leaves vinyl lovers without a local option.
“I can’t believe it lasted that long,” said Bogus, who noted that sales have been tracking downward since around 2000 with the exception of a recent rebirth in demand for new and used vinyl.
A music fan at a young age — “My dad raised me on the old country and got me interested,” he said — Bogus accepts the closing of his business as the next step in his life.
“I’ve been lucky,” he said while discussing his 28 years at Bogey’s Music.
The Columbus man became a car stereo installer, learning “enough to help most people,” and served as a disc jockey for youth dances at local schools.
“I think it helped me at least keep a young attitude,” Bogus said. “It didn’t keep me young, but it kept me feeling young.”
Bogus, who turns 65 later this month, said he will miss the customers the most after closing Bogey’s Music.
Many of the regulars became close friends — one even opened his own store, Bogey’s West, in Castle Rock, Colorado — and the business became part of Bogus’ social life as he shared his knowledge of music with others.
“That’s going to be the change for me,” he said.
Bogus, who lost his wife Linda a year ago after a seven-year battle with cancer, plans to “enjoy life” in the years ahead, finding time to fish, attend football games and, of course, take in a few more concerts.
“I’m really hoping I can kind of relax and let the plan unfold on its own,” he said of his retirement.
The downtown building was sold to Mary Nyffeler, who owns Antiques & Treasures next door.
Fittingly, the man who made a living providing Columbus residents with tunes from Steve Perry to Katy Perry summed up his time at Bogey’s Music with a classic line from the Grateful Dead.
“What a long, strange trip it’s been.”