Shoppers browse wide music selections at Amoeba Music, a local record store in Berkeley CA, after they reopen their doors on Oct. 16, since the COVID-10 closures in March. (Leila Figueroa / Golden Gate Xpress) (Leila Figueroa)
Shoppers browse wide music selections at Amoeba Music, a local record store in Berkeley CA, after they reopen their doors on Oct. 16, since the COVID-10 closures in March. (Leila Figueroa / Golden Gate Xpress)

Leila Figueroa

Amoeba Berkeley celebrates anticipated reopening

October 19, 2020

Amoeba Berkeley officially reopened on Oct. 15, after having been forced to shutter for over six months. 

Amoeba Music is an independent music chain store based in California. They also call themselves “The World’s Largest Independent Record Store.” Amoeba mainly sells a variety of physical music such as vinyl records, DVDs and CDs. The Berkeley location boosts the fact that it is the first store. As Berkeley continues its course for reopening, Amoeba Music’s official website announced on Oct. 2 that Amoeba Music’s Berkeley store would reopen on Oct. 15.

Outside, around 15 people waited to enter. After cleaning their hands in compliance with shop policy, guests entered the store with busy staff and buyers choosing their music albums.

Shoppers browse wide music selections at Amoeba Music, a local record store in Berkeley Calif., after they reopen their doors on Oct.16, since the COVID-19 closures in March. (Leila Figueroa / Golden Gate Xpress) (Leila Figueroa)

Jeff Adams, the Amoeba Berkeley’s security guard, spoke a bit about Amoeba’s efforts to prevent the spread of the virus. He was arranged to work outside by the store manager because of the pandemic.

“We are doing a good job to keep people’s distance. People on the line outside have to keep distance by six feet. When we reach more than ten customers in the store, people in line outside started [entering] two in, two out,” Adams said. “In the same way, when entering and leaving our shop, people need to use the disinfectant we provide to clean their hands.”

David Holzman, 64, said he felt depressed during the time Amoeba was closed. He went on to say that he had been in the store for almost three hours and was thoroughly enjoying it again.

Holzman added that Amoeba’s reopening allows him to continue his lookout for vinyl records he wants.

“I’m here because I have been collecting records for 50 years, and I never stop buying them. I have more than 3,000 albums, that’s why,” Holzman said. “I am not afraid of the virus, and I feel that it is under control now. Just need to remember to wash hands and disinfect when I go home.” 

Gabriel Ruiz, a UC Berkeley student, said that there was something about being able to hold a record that separates it from digital music. 

David Holzman shops for records and more music on Oct. 16, at newly re-opened Amoeba Music in Berkeley, Calif. (Leila Figueroa / Golden Gate Xpress) (Leila Figueroa)

“It’s something you can hold, it’s physical. If I buy a digital copy of this album, I can’t really put it on my shelf. When my son is older, he can pick the album, he will see it,” Ruiz said. “For the digital version, you lose all that, you lose artwork and everything like the page inside and lyrics inside.”

Ruiz also said that he was more than happy to be back on opening day, buying records once again.

Kevin Browell, a long-term employee of Amoeba Music Berkeley, said he was very happy to be back to work.

“Many people came on the first day of opening, and in the morning, they waited outside even before opening. We have a lot of support from regular customers and people we didn’t see for this closed half a year, and a lot of new customers too. It is a positive day,” Browell said. “All employees are afraid of infection, but we are doing our best to keep clean, keep distance between us and people. We’re going above and beyond safety and cleaning measures.” 

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