Sad but fairly unsurprising news today: One of the city's last big holdouts, record-store wise, has given up the ghost, and that is Rasputin's Union Square store. The deceptively large, five-story location at Powell and Ellis, where they still bought CDs and DVDs and still sold vinyl and VHS tapes, is officially closed for good as Hoodline first reported. Like its competitor Amoeba Music, which was actually founded by some former Rasputin employees, Rasputin still maintains large store locations in the Upper Haight and in Berkeley, where both stores first began.
Rasputin was founded in 1971 and currently has 11 store locations across California, including Mountain View, Modesto, Stockton, and Fresno. Along with Amoeba, which first opened in Berkeley in 1990, the store has held on despite waves of independent record store closings across the country, and the shuttering of major chains like Tower Records, which called it quits 10 years ago, and Virgin Megastore, which closed its SF location in 2009.
In 2004, the Chronicle described Rasputin's Powell location as having "the chaotic feel of a mosh pit," something it hasn't really had for years. For years the store famously had its own elevator operator, a job duty that was shared among the store's whole staff, so that no one got burnt out.
As Hoodline points out, the large, five-level space at a prominent corner near the cable car turnaround on Powell should be highly attractive to retailers and will likely fill up fast.