October 28, 2004

2nd to none: Tunes store closes down

Django's 2nd Hand Tunes at 1377 East 53rd Street was forced to close its doors in early October, after the owner lost his two-year battle with the city to get the Secondhand Dealers ordinance rescinded.

As published in the Hyde Park Herald, Johnny Balmer, the 35-year old owner of the store, filed a federal suit against the city claiming the ordinance violated his customers' civil rights. Balmer thought that the ordinance's requirements—an extensive log of buyers and sellers of CDs and DVDs and delivery of the logs to the Chicago Police Department every day—were too stringent. When he refused to comply in 2002, the store was closed temporarily by the city. Balmer's suit failed, and 2nd Hand Tunes continued to lose money, forcing Balmer to close it down.

Balmer said that the city's regulations and bureaucracy are discouraging to independent businesses. He also had to close a 2nd Hand Tunes in Lincoln Park for similar reasons last July. The 2nd Hand Tunes stores he owns in Oak Park and Evanston will remain open, as will his Sound Gallery store in the North Side Wicker Park area and his Web site,