We reported a couple weeks ago about the pending closing of the final Spec’s location in Coral Gables. Well, the New York Times decided to dedicate some time to do their own piece regarding the closing of the legendary South Florida establishment and its founder, Martin Spector.
Martin Spector, a former talent agent and violinist from Virginia, opened the store in 1948 on U.S. 1, then just a two-lane road. The shop sold records and cameras. Five years later, he moved the store a few blocks north on U.S. 1 to its permanent location and zeroed in almost exclusively on records for a few decades. Classical music was Mr. Spector’s specialty, although he sold all genres. He treated customers like members of an exclusive music club, and that kept the people coming back.
By the 1970s, Spec’s grew to become a record powerhouse in Miami and the region. It influenced music charts with its ability to move records and promote songs, and it nurtured the local music scene. In 1985, Spec’s went public and continued to thrive for more than a decade until the rise of downloadable music. Spec’s was recognized by Forbes in 1987 as one of the 200 best small companies in America.
Mr. Spector’s work ethic was legendary; he kept an office in the Coral Gables store, its flagship, and always made the rounds. He chose employees wisely. And he stayed a step ahead of tastes and trends, ushering in Latin music when he saw Miami’s population shift, building a renowned classical collection, selling concert tickets, hosting artists, and then adding movie rentals when necessary. At its peak, Spec’s grew to 80 stores in Florida and Puerto Rico. In 1998, Spec’s was sold to Camelot, which was later bought by Trans World Entertainment. Mr. Spector died in 2003 at age 98.
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