Best Record Store - 2007
The idea of "big box store" gets a bad rap, assuming that a consumer outlet is bad just because the place is cavernous, packed with a dizzying selection of merchandise, and made of unadorned concrete. Ninety-nine percent of the time huge stores do suck, whether because they're full of things no one needs, or because they're screwing their employees, or because those employees could give a shit about helping you find what you're really looking for. Amoeba, which has existed in the Bay Area for 17 years, is the exception, employing (and giving proper health benefits to) actual record nerds who are generally enthused about helping you out, though disinclined to get in your face or bother to judge you as you flip through their truly awe-inspiring selection of every new and used CD, DVD, and even vinyl. Store clerks have been known to slip up once in a while and misfile coveted records on occasion, which encourages crate-digging exploration by patient patrons. That's exactly the don't-know-what-you-may-find tactile spirit that will hopefully allow the bricks-and-mortar music store to live on in the digital age.