Spector loved those who loved music, especially his beloved classical, but he could be tough. When long-gone stores like Viscount Records opened at University Centre across from the UM or the mammoth Music Makers, which boasted entire rooms for each musical genre and even sold ice cream, opened nearby in the late 1970s, Spector would pop in to check out the competition. He was especially none-too-pleased when used CD shops like CD Solution started sprouting like mushrooms after heavy summer rains in the early 1990s — one rival opening a mere two doors down.
But he recognized true music lovers, like Rich Ulloa, who ran Miami’s independent Yesterday & Today record shop. Ulloa’s Y&T music label issued the first recordings of The Mavericks and Mary Karlzen. He held CD release parties for his acts inside the Spec’s store in the 1990s.
“Mr. Spector — I always called him Mr. Spector — I always felt a personal connection with him,” Ulloa said. “I’ll never forget when I expanded Y&T and we moved to the Ludlam shopping center. That was a big expansion for me and Mr. Spector came by my store to congratulate me and wish me well. That blew me away. I was stunned.
“I’m very saddened. To me, it means it’s the end. Spec’s was the last link to the great traditional record stores. Spec’s got very involved in the local music scene for most of the ‘90s and they supported local music like no other chain,” Ulloa said.
Adds Lieff: “I’m thinking what my father would be saying, ‘We’ve had a great run.’ I think it’s bittersweet right now. Even though we sold 14 years ago we feel like we’re saying goodbye again.
“And that’s OK.”
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