Back in 1999, Corey Ross applied for a job at Last Stop CD Shop. Twenty-one years and a plethora of trends later, Ross still finds himself working at the same place, now a manager for a company he says he’s proud to work for.
WORKING HARD OR HARDLY WORKING
“Once you find somewhere like that, I think [people] understand how unique it is to find a job that you love going to,” said Ross. “It’s like working with family.”
And just like with family, every time you stroll into the store, you can expect to see familiar faces. Of the 11 full-time employees, the most recent hire was in 2011, nine years ago.
“A lot of us joke about how it’s ridiculous that we get paid to do this for a living, joking about having to find a real job,” laughed Ross. “It’s pretty addicting.”
After 25 years of owning and operating the two stores in Sioux Falls and, at times, locations in other towns, Brian Deutz says he’s thrilled with the staff he’s maintained.
“That’s made my job really easy,” said Deutz. “It’s a fun way to make a living.”
WHAT’S OLD IS NEW
The company, which is known for buying and selling inventory like CDs, movies, games, and books, also has new and used vinyl records, electronics, and more.
“We’re kinda unique in the sense [that] the items that we have in one place are unique to just our store,” said Ross. “Nobody else has all of those things under one roof.”
Experience the bottom floor of Last Stop on 10th Street, where Last Stop Studios and Post Pilgrim Art Gallery are located. During a typical month, “White Wall Sessions” records local and regional bands in the studio where an intimate crowd can purchase tickets to watch the taping and have a beverage (or two).
Though the inventory has been changing over the years, Ross loves to see how inventory cycles. While the newest systems, games, music, and movies release frequently, the crew at Last Stop has seen nostalgia resurface in several categories as well.
From ‘90s Nintendo consoles to the PS4 and back again, they say fascinations change just as they have with vinyl records and CDs. And that is Ross’ favorite category of the store’s merchandise: music.
“It’s very rewarding to see people pick up an album and see the same smile on their face when they’re looking through the track list, remembering a song, how old they were when they first heard that song or who they were with or what was going on in their life,” expressed Ross.
The paper sleeves that cover much of the stock at the store are covered in memories scrawled across them, said Deutz. Memories from a month ago and memories from over a decade ago.
“It’s cool to be surrounded by people who are fans of things I don’t fully appreciate or understand, but I can understand why they appreciate it and be a part of that, too. It’s all very creative and very much THE SAME.” – COREY ROSS
CELEBRATING MUSIC & MORE
Back on April 18, Last Stop was gearing up for Record Store Day. On that same day, Deutz had a busy schedule planned for the company’s 25th anniversary.
The day’s itinerary included Record Store Day releases, on-site food options, an ice cream truck, live music, and an array of vendors. According to Ross, Fernson Brewing Co. was even going to create a special beer for the occasion.
“We had big plans,” said Deutz. “That was another casualty of COVID.”
Record Store Day will now spread out its releases across three days—August 29, September 26, and October 24—but the 25th anniversary reschedule is yet to be determined.
According to Ross, Last Stop has continued receiving support from the community throughout the pandemic.
A CLASSIC TENT
Visit Last Stop at the 605 Summer Classic at Cherapa Place in downtown Sioux Falls on August 8 from noon to 4 p.m.
STEPPING INTO LAST STOP
“I think if I could tell anybody anything that hasn’t been in the store in a while or doesn’t know what we do, it’s just that they’d be surprised at what they can find in there,” said Ross.
He says he enjoys helping people find the one special item that means something to them.
“It’s always interesting to see how many new people we get in the store and to see what they come up with, the questions they ask, or what they end up looking for,” said Ross.
And that’s what Ross lives for. Even still, he jokes, “Maybe one of these days, I’ll find a real job.