The Long Ear


Beginnings of The Long Ear .... ‘A Great Adventure’


   1973 First Sign                            The Long Ear’s First Winter     Terry at Counter (note 8 Tracks)

  1.  Big Bear Lake, Ca - pop. about 8,000,  elevation about 6700 - needed a record store.  Terry & Deon (new residents) needed an income AND someplace to buy their music.  Easy solution.   

Terry (tho’ never having used a saw, drill - or sawhorse before), but having lots of experience going to record stores - built enough bins for the opening inventory of 400 albums, 88 eight-tracks and 3 cassettes.  He also had to figure out how to run a retail store & what kind of inventory to pick up.  

In order to fill up that big, empty, 16’ x 30’ space Terry & Deon built a huge counter right in the middle of the store.  Deon made some curtains & cookies - and with a butcher-paper sign on their van we declared: Now Open. That was on Oct. 1, 1973.

In 1975, when Terry-the-audiophile decided it might be fun to buy stereo equipment wholesale, The ‘Ear expanded into the other half of their little building.  JVC, Teac &, VMPS were added. THEN Radio Shack came knocking...and we decided to move into bigger digs.  The local pool hall was up for grabs, along with a furniture store, in the same building - so why not? Besides - we LOVED pinball & pool!


 1975:  Stereos, Pool Hall- move down the road!       1976 Victor Joins Long Ear Crew              1980 - LPs, 8 Tracks, Stereos, CBs

                                                                                                ( Vic checks out Pop’s catch)

From its very beginnings, back in 1973, The Long Ear has always attempted to be the kind of store that felt like a friend’s ‘listening room’  you might have wandered into - or maybe that other room of your house.  So it only made sense to include stereos in the mix.

          1985 CdA Open For Biz                     1st N. Idaho Buck! 1991 Pearl Jam Midnite Sale

         ~Second Location~

Moving to Coeur d’Alene in 1985, was our best move.  The community was - and is extremely welcoming to those with open hearts.  There may have been some challenging moments initially...opening a store between phone book publications and on a shoestring can  be that way.

Challenges do bring family & friends closer - and develop creativity.  Making marking pen business announcements on index cards is a fun crafting project.    So is figuring out good places to post them around your new home town.

By 2000, rumors of the expansion of Government Way taking away our parking... and needing more space anyway, led to the 4th Street building.  Perfect place for Ear Fests, in-stores and adding new employees.

   Home of ‘Ear 2000-2016               Ear Crew Reunion            Robert Cray at 40th        Tie-Dye Crew 2003 Earfest

Fast forward to 2018.  The Long Ear is still going for that ‘other room of your house’ feeling.  With the additional wealth of new life-style goodies, 18,000 CD titles, new & used vinyl,  fair-trade clothing, incense, unique imported gifts and even some ‘made in the USA’ items - it doesn’t seem that their current 4000 square foot building is in danger of feeling even close to empty.

Throughout these 45 years, we’ve had 6 locations - raising son Victor, making friends, listening to great music and experiencing the many changes to music lifestyle along the way.  We’ve had the BEST crew members - and especially Nic Fritze, our manager for 20 years....and counting.

So many changes to music & the ‘music industry’  {Who’d have ever thought those two words would be linked?}, but much is the same:  The Long Ear’s still a gathering place for those who love music. When you look around, you can see that there’s still a strong bond between music fans & those who want to help make this a better place.

And now - through the return of Vinyl and International Record Store Day - it seems other communities around the world are remembering their local record stores, and the power music plays in bringing people together.


Friendly Long Eared Mascot                                Analog Alley

As we reach our 45th anniversary -  we realize just how blessed we are. To do something we love, surrounded by community / family & friends...what more could we ask?  Thank you.                 

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