Yesterday Mayor Mike McGinn recognized Easy Street Records for their stability, longevity, and involvement in Seattle’s music community, while embodying Seattle’s pioneering spirit and reflecting Seattle at its best.
“Easy Street Records embodies the diverse musical styles that Seattle produces and is an essential part of the community in the way they spread and promote Northwest music,” said Mayor Mike McGinn. “Their commitment to their employees and to the community of Seattle is what makes them an excellent addition to the In Good Company program.”
A part of the Seattle Jobs Plan, the In Good Company program is an ongoing showcase of businesses that spotlights one locally-owned business every month for being unconventional, transformative, and exemplary. There are a lot of incredible businesses in Seattle, and if your business is recognized here, you know that you’re in good company.
Easy Street Records is an independent record store with two locations: one in West Seattle, and one in Queen Anne. While chain stores dominated the 1980s, Easy Street competed by allowing customers to sell and trade their used records, tapes, and CDs. This helped increase Easy Street’s margins, which allowed them to sell new items at competitive prices.
“We’re known for breaking new bands out of the Northwest,” said Matt Vaughan, owner of Easy Street Records. “We carry all genres. It’s hard for me to consider being a niche store or a store that only carries one or two genres because that’s not a reflection of our society. That’s not a reflection of Seattle.”
Seattle’s music scene is one of the leading characteristics of Seattle. Easy Street Records provides the opportunity to discover new bands and musicians and allows young artists to be heard by being the place that promotes, stocks, and sells local music.
“We’re going to support anything that has to do with music and promoting the arts in Seattle. That’s our responsibility,” said Vaughan. “As a small business owner, it is gratifying to see that Seattle folks tend to understand that by supporting small business, they are in effect recycling monies right back into their economy and effectively, right back into their local community.”
Beginning with Easy Street’s first location in West Seattle, they have concentrated on their local community. They have thrown record release parties, have had over 700 in-store performances, donated to the local schools, and have helped organize the West Seattle Street Fair. In 2000, they opened the cafe, which has added to the element of gathering local music fans together. In 2002, Easy Street opened their second location in Lower Queen Anne near the Seattle Center, and extended their community outreach and local artist promotion there.
Over its 24 years, Easy Street has employed over 500 people and currently employs about 40. Easy Street is often referred to as “the starting block” for those hoping to make music their career. It is where promotion, marketing, sales, and merchandising all converge. It is also where a musician can work and be supported while still trying to perfect their craft.
“Easy Street Records can pride itself on being one of the leaders of a music scene in Seattle that employs 20,000 people and has grown to be a $2.2 billion industry,” said Maud Daudon, president & CEO of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber congratulates Matt and his team for a legacy of great music and great success.”
Businesses recognized in the In Good Company program receive several meaningful prizes to help their business grow and celebrate their employees, including a mayor proclamation; a high-quality video profile featured on the Seattle Channel; a one-year membership or an upgraded tier of membership at the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber; and a special gift basket for employees containing food, drinks and prizes from some of Seattle’s most beloved local companies.
The highlighted businesses are chosen by the City of Seattle’s Office of Economic Development and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce by a committee of staff members who meet quarterly to select businesses to recognize. Individuals and businesses may also suggest recommendations via the Office of Economic Development.
For nomination criteria and more information, please visit the In Good Company website page.