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Swan song for Huntington record shop

It wasn't exactly a wake at the Soundtraks record store in Huntington village, but for the few employees there, it felt the same.

Thursday marked the last day of business for the store, which had held court on New York Avenue for 26 years.

Manager Cliff Fenster has been working at Soundtraks since it first started in a small storefront across the street from its final home.

"We were one of the top record stores on the Island," said Fenster, 56. "It's like going to a funeral, a wake. You walk around, you see the store being dismantled. It's very disheartening."

In late afternoon, only a few customers were in the store, browsing through what was left of the CDs and vinyl. Most of the shelves were empty, and the collectible Beatles and Elvis figurines that had once decorated the place were already packed away.

Larry Hess, 48, of Huntington, said he's been coming to Soundtraks since it opened.

"I want to give this place one last hurrah," Hess said as one of the store's three employees rang up his purchase. "It's a little sad, depressing."

Behind the counter sat chocolates, wine and Champagne that loyal customers brought in for the staff.

Fenster, who lives in Huntington, said he plans on still seeing many of his favorite customers, who have turned into close friends.

"It was like family here," he said.

Fenster said Soundtraks owner Robert Stanford decided to close the store at the end of the lease after several years of slow business.

"Unfortunately, we're an antique store," Fenster said. But, he said, "We're very proud. It's not a failure, it certainly was a success, but the clock said it was time to go. Everything has a shelf life."

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