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STREETSIDE REFLECTIONS: Audio guru Walsh reminisces about legendary CoMo record store

"The cream of the crop of young energy in a bumpin' college town"

COLUMBIA, 12/21/12 (Op Ed) -- The pending closure of Streetside Records (SSR) in January prompted that store's longtime former manager -- Kelvin Walsh (better known as Kevin) -- to post a holiday audio montage from the Columbia icon's 31-year history on Youtube.

"It is an ad that ran very briefly about 10 years ago, put together by one of about 15 generation/tribes of SSR/Streetsiders -- all of them brilliant," explained Walsh, who says he "always took retail as a very personal business."

Though the record shop was part of a chain known in corporate parlance as "STREETSIDE #05 COMO," Walsh remembers more colorful names such as the "Providence Avenue Playboys and Tuff Gals Club."

The playboys and tuff gals were among Walsh's many hires over his 26-year career at the store. "We got to employ the cream of the crop of young energy in a bumpin' college town," he says. "I'd hire the most different people I could find. But no matter how different they were, we always took them in and assigned them a role in the tribe. We faced the world together every day. And we faced it enthusiastically -- usually. 'Twas an intelligent, talented, crazy, skillful staff."

Walsh also remembers the store's shoppers, as much for what they taught his young charges as for the money they spent. "Massive respect to the clientele," he says. 12-15 generations of Streetside employees "remember you. I do too."

It's always tough to say goodbye to old friends, but never more so than around Christmas. "Our Christmas parties were always fun," says Walsh, who hosts two shows on KOPN. "Much love to [current Streetside manager] Nick Soha and and his crew for the past few! Have a Cool Yule, y'all."

Holiday Greetings from Streetside Records

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