There used to be a store in Fairmont, On Cue. This was part of a chain of stores. The main attraction was the music collection, a good number of CDs. But not just CDs. On Cue had video, a small selection of electronics, maybe a couple guitars, a fair number of books, and the smattering of tee-shirts and posters.
It wasn't great, but it wasn't bad. It was a music store first, and a book store not so much, but it wasn't bad for a town of 11,000. I bought a good number of CDs from On Cue. I bought some books from On Cue. What they didn't have they generally could order - or would be honest enough to say they couldn't get it.
On Cue went away a while ago when the chain was taken over by Sam Goody. The Sam Goody folks, who weren't doing so well themselves, said they wanted to keep On Cue's strengths. They should have studied them more and discovered what those strengths were.
When the On Cue became a Sam Goody the town may have gained a name everyone knew, but lost a store that was good. The music collection changed, and the more eclectic (okkay, strange) stuff I liked disappeared. The bookshelves shrank and what was on them was disappointing. There were more video games and a wider selection of electronics. Nobody bought the electronics because they could find the same thing for much less at K-Mart or Shopko, and that was just in town, never mind what could be found in, say, Mankato. While they could order things, they seemed to be less capable about it than On Cue was.
The obvious eventually happened. Somewhere a decision was made and it was being stuck to, despite evidence it was the wrong one. Had things reverted to like they were in the On Cue days, without overpriced electronics that wouldn't sell, with a good selection of books, and a less standardized one size fits all music selection, it would probably still be in business. Instead, it plowed on right into closing for business.
And that's how Fairmont lost a music and book store. It wasn't that the town (and surrounding area) couldn't support such a thing. It was that the town (and surrounding area) wouldn't support a bad one.
Now I either deal with ordering stuff over the net, or driving to some other town to get a CD or book. And that way, it becomes a problem. I only place an order or go to a store if I'm looking for something specific and want it bad enough. I don't just pop into the local store to see if there might be something of interest. There isn't a place I can do that. Through really, there hadn't been a place worth doing that since Sam Goody appeared.