Saw this sad news over at Seattle Weekly and just confirmed: Easy Street Records in Queen Anne will close on January 18 after 12 years in its Mercer Street location. Owner Matt Vaughan explains it all in the open letter below (it's also posted on Easy Street's website), but this is the gist of it: The store had been doing well—and was hosting some of the best free concerts in town—but Vaughan couldn't commit to signing a long-term lease given the current economic climate. (Read: Only people born before 1983 still buy CDs.) A Chase Bank will take over the location and Easy Street will regroup at its West Seattle location, where Vaughan recently signed a 15-year lease. We'll miss you, Easy Street Queen Anne. Have a favorite Easy Street memory? Share it in the comments section.

From the owner:

Dear Friends:

It’s with a heavy heart that we have to say goodbye to our beloved Queen Anne neighborhood. Thanks to you, 2012 was one of our better years. We posted some good sales numbers and hosted some amazing events. We have been at this location for 12 years. We did not want to close.

In the past year, we received various honors and accolades. We were named King County’s Small Business of the Year and Mayor McGinn proclaimed Dec 20 Easy Street Records Day, in which he stated that “Easy Street Records embodies the diverse musical styles that Seattle produces and is an essential part of the community." We found good reason to be optimistic about 2013.

After fulfilling our 10-year lease, our landlord was looking for another long-term lease. We felt this might be risky, particularly with the current economic landscape of retail and some changes that had affected the neighborhood. Furthermore, the rent that the landlord was looking for was significantly more than what we had been paying. Initially, we were fortunate in negotiating a couple one-year leases. That is what kept us here these last couple of years.

The new tenant, Chase Bank, will take possession of 20 Mercer St on Jan 21. We thank our committed customers, this beautiful neighborhood, our fellow merchants and neighbors, and all of the music lovers and musicians that supported Easy Street Records at this location. We will miss all of you and cherish the memories forever.

We recently signed a new 15-year lease at our original store in West Seattle, where we will carry on the Easy Street tradition of great in-stores, yummy breakfasts, tasty vinyl, and overall, an excellent selection of music. We hope to see you there soon.

Forever grateful, Matt Vaughan and the 20 Mercer Crew