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My life and my house are overrun with stuff, and that includes my garage. Amid a recent frenzy to rid myself of earthly clutter, I discovered that boxes upon boxes of artifacts from my nearly 17-year business were taking up valuable space where I could potentially park a car. So I set my sights on clearing all those leftover items from that space.

Laser’s Edge Compact Discs was opened in 1991, selling music and video products to an enthusiastic clientele in Homewood, the city immediately south of Birmingham, Alabama. It was a good business, as small businesses go, for most of that time. You probably know the ultimate fate of hundreds of small music retail shops throughout the country. This store wasn’t harbored from those financial currents. Laser’s Edge shuttered at the end of 2007.

Most of the big stuff from the store (read: too big to fit in a box) went to the winds or to customers’ homes. But a multitude of clippings, paperwork, scribbled notes, photographs and other ephemera got shoved into banker’s boxes and was mindlessly stashed in my garage, awaiting the fate that arrives with the garbage man.

Fast-forward to October 2010, with me in unclutter mode. I had – literally – just begun the process when I received a text message from a Birmingham friend who had recently relocated to the left coast.

“In your will, will you leave me the flyer for the Diana Krall in-store?” the text read, completely out of the blue, and with no introduction. “I used to ask you for it every day at the store. I think it had been push-pinned to the wall for a good 10+ years.”

Indeed, that little 5½ x 8½ inch mimeo had been tacked to the bulletin board opposite my desk, clearly visible to anyone walking to the office door, in late 1996. It was still there on the day the store closed.

“I wonder if I still have that. Was going thru store stuff just today in the garage. Need to just toss most of it,” I pecked back.

He answered almost immediately. “Hey, you should make a scrapbook. I wish I had saved a lot more [He was involved in the music business back then, also]. That store was a defining couple of decades for you. Save everything, that’s what I always say.”

Well, it would take a miracle or a new and larger house to convince me to hang onto all of this. And scrapbooking it all would send me to the loony bin; once the pages fell out of chronological order – which they inevitably would – I would abandon it. That’s the way I am. No apologies. But then I had an idea.

And guess what happened next?…

…You’re reading it.

So. This blog will unfold of its own accord, and these unboxed Laser’s Edge artifacts will tell their own stories. That’s my hope. And that the resulting pages will together spin yet another yarn about what it was like to work “behind the counter” or just to walk into such a joint.

If you were there, have some Laser’s Edge leftovers of your own, or just want to share a story about those times and that place, I’d really like to add it or them to this collection. You can reach me via e-mail at spitballarmy [at] aol [dot] com or, even easier for you, in the comments sections throughout this site.

Thanks for visiting,
Fred Osuna

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