In these crappy economic times, independent music retailers keep locking their doors for the last time as big-box merchants and Internet piracy threaten their future. But Wax Trax, one of the original indie-store survivors, is cooler than ever after two decades. The outlet gathers together an enormous collection of new and used CDs, vinyl and 45s with prices that range from reasonable to ridiculously low. And it's got world-class cred: The original owners actually started the Chicago Wax Trax label, which gave the world heavy industrial music, after selling the shop to regular patrons. As a result, the store's run by fans of music, rather than people trying to make money off of music. Denver would be a lesser place without it.


Many Boulderites were nervous when Scott Woodland sold the Video Station. It seemed impossible that any new owner could maintain such an erudite staff, the huge and unmatchable selection of films and the unmistakable spirit of the place. But so far Bruce Shamma and Sheri Lapres, who took over last summer, are making old-time patrons breathe sighs of relief. They seem as dedicated to film as Woodland, and the shelves of new releases look nothing like a Blockbuster. There are even some interesting new candies for sale at the counter, including violet pastilles from New York. The town owes Woodland much gratitude for his community-centeredness and the years building up this unique Boulder institution.

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