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POP EYE

November 20, 1994|Bruce Haring

SHOP AROUND: While the trend in the retail music world for years has been giant supermarket-like outlets a la Tower and the Virgin Megastores, Tower itself is experimenting with smaller, more specialized locations.

The first Tower Alternative store has just opened in the Lab Shopping Mall in Costa Mesa, offering what's loosely defined as "college music," according to store manager Rodney Metoyer. The store's focus embraces everything from the current alternative pop playlist through avant-garde jazz, traditional country and imported product.

The store also offers clothing, books (William Burroughs is a particular fave), adult magazines and esoteric videos. A second Tower Alternative will open on Santa Monica Boulevard in Santa Monica next month, specializing in world music and jazz.

Metoyer and his assistant manager make the ultimate call on whether a title passes the "alternative" test, and already there have been battles with record company salespeople over what qualifies.

But they'll try to avoid coming off as snobs. "If people are looking for it, we won't tell them it's not cool enough to carry," Metoyer says.

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