- Oscar Moreno
- Lonely Horse performs at Imagine Books and Records.
In addition to hosting the weeklong Imagine Fest, which attracts national and even international acts, the retail shop-slash-venue has served as a DIY platform for up-and-coming local musicians for nearly 10 years.
But with San Antonio in virtual shutdown to battle the COVID-19 outbreak, Imagine’s having trouble staying afloat, owner Don Hurd told the Current.
Hurd closed the shop's doors after Mayor Ron Nirenberg ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses. But, even a few weeks before, sales were on a downward slide.
“People were getting nervous and not spending as much,” Hurd said. “And I don’t blame them, because you can live without that Prince record, but you can’t live without the staples you need for your family.”
On top of declining sales, Imagine grappled with canceled shows by out-of-town acts including the Blind Owls and Nox Boys. The pandemic forced both to scrap their tours, and Imagine lost income from the canceled shows.
Hurd expected the shopping center where Imagine is located to show some leniency due to the crisis. Instead, he received a default notice saying he had five days to come up with the rent or he’d be forced to move out.
“We were already somewhat behind on rent, because business had been dropping in the weeks leading up to this,” he said.
Hurd’s son Ezra, who’s booked shows for the shop, suggested the family set up a GoFundMe campaign to save Imagine. In less than 24 hours, the shop met its $5,000 goal, and the contributions continue to climb.
“It’s such a beautiful thing,” Hurd said. “And I get so emotional thinking about how this community has responded. We have enough money to pay the back rent now. We set a goal so we could get the next month’s rent coming up and have some money to pay some of the bills, and if it keeps coming in, we’ll put it into the store.”
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