I was just completing my LinkedIn profile (finally), and was saddened to find that one of my favorite companies seems to have disappeared off of the face of the earth - NRM Music (aka National Record Mart). It was retail, but I loved working there. The No Risk Music guarantees alone - I mean, who lets you return open CDs for a different title anymore? (to be fair, the No Risk Music was limited to specific selections every month that we knew did not suck). The last article I can find on the store is on potential expansions in 1999. I can only guess this place was a victim of the MP3 (aka "let's not pay for music anymore") revolution. I was able to grow from a lowly annoying teenage salesperson into a manager all before turning 17. I learned respect for merchandise, for myself, for others and for corporate America. I also learned about how Federal tax incentive programs (like automatically reducing withholding but not reducing your tax bill) really impacted minimum wage earners. I also got to see first hand what happened when the Federal minimum wage was raised. I gained an understanding for how the big picture works, and how every individual can impact the environment around them. I could see first hand how being a helpful and courteous employee raised our sales by the double digit percentiles. I also learned that several of our employees could not alphabetize merchandise with much accuracy, which led to my strange obsession with alphabetizing my own CDs, DVDs and books.
I've seen my favorite music stores disappear out here. It's a shame, I always find new things to listen to by just browsing or getting recommendations from a real human that has an actual interest in music.
Through my job at NRM, I was eligible for and received a college scholarship from the National Association for Recording Merchandisers. It wasn't a full ride, but definitely made a difference, helped me focus on my studies to maintain the gift and made sure I kept my credit hours up to par. Anyways, I'll miss you NRM, wherever you have gone.