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Shuttered Record Theatre sold

A long-time Record Theatre store on Transit Road in Lancaster will soon reopen as an eye care clinic.

Record Theatre founder Leonard Silver confirmed Friday that he had sold the shuttered music store, located at 4703 Transit Road, to Eye Care Professionals of Western New York for $775,000.

"That's a great building and a great location. We had a good run out there," Silver said.

Eye Care Professionals, which currently has offices in Amherst, Cheektowaga, West Seneca and Buffalo, will begin renovations immediately, and expects to open its new Lancaster site in May.

Silver and his Record Theatre business once dominated the Western New York retail music market. In 1976, he opened the 25,000-square-foot flagship store at Main Street and West Delavan Avenue, which at the time held the title of the "world's largest record store."

Through the 1980s and early '90s the Record Theatre chain included 10 locations, including stores in Rochester and Syracuse, and the privately-held retail company earned national sales volume awards.

By 1995, competition from other national media chains led Silver to sell the Buffalo store to industry giant Blockbuster Music, and over the past decade a combination of competition and the shift to digital music downloads, led to the closure of seven other sites.

Silver, who regained control of the flagship store when Blockbuster jettisoned its music division, reopened it in 2004, drawing buyers of classic and used CDs and those seeking vinyl versions of their favorite music.

"I'm limping along, but its tough, tougher than ever," said Silver, who continues to operate stores on South Park Avenue in Hamburg and University Plaza in Amherst, in addition to the original store.

e-mail: slinstedt@buffnews.com

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