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‘Spec’s Records and Tapes’ Sings Its Last Tune

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(Source: HOWARD COHEN / Miami Herald Staff)

(Source: HOWARD COHEN / Miami Herald Staff)

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CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami) –The last of tapes and records were bought off the shelves of the Coral Gables Spec’s Records and Tapes on Saturday as its owners readied to shut its doors forever.

The music store, which doubled as a second home to music-lovers throughout the decades, opened its doors in 1948.

Originally created by Martin “Mike” Spector, the store eventually grew into a chain of 80 stores in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Spec’s was one of the community’s beloved gathering spots. Coral Gables natives went there to share a love of music and music knowledge, thanks to music-savvy sales staff.

“I don’t like to see anything change like that specially something that has been around for such a long time,” said Bill Bradley, a longtime customer.

Back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, people would also camp-out at the store to be first in line to get concert tickets.

“That was the place to be on Friday nights,” Margot Winick, a former employee of Spec’s told CBS4 news partner Miami Herald. “I never minded working there, it was the place to see and be seen and I got paid to work there.”

Spector, who died in September 2003 at the age 98, had previously placed the chain in the hands of daughters Ann Lieff, who served as Spec’s CEO, and Rosalind Zacks, its vice president.

“I’d like to thank all of our customers, the city of Coral Gables, the university [of Miami], everyone who was so loyal to us for so many years,” Lieff told the paper. “I thought of dad as really the heart and soul but his love of music brought culture to the community.”

Spector was really tough when it came down to music. He made it his mission to pop in and check out the other competition, like the CD Solution shop which used to be two doors down.

However, his stores could not outdo Internet music shopping and digital downloads which would eventually lead to the end of his record stores.

The store will permanently close its doors sometime throughout January, just as other competitors like Virgin and Tower and Peaches have done.

Chase Bank will open in its place in the Fall.

“Spec’s’ closing is a great loss to the community,” local historian Cristina Favretto, who is head of special collections at the University of Miami’s Otto G. Richter Library, told the paper.

“You are making a purchase that makes you happy and finding out about other types of music that you may not have known about,” said Favretto. “When anything like that closes it’s a hole in the community fabric.”

The Miami Herald has contributed to this report.

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