Sonic Boom Focuses on Local Involvement

Posted on for Class Assignment:

Along NW Market Street lies Sonic Boom Records, know by many Seattleites as the premier record store for all things Northwest and musical. Sonic Boom Records first opened in Freemont in 1997 then moved to a larger space in Freemont and by 2001 had moved to Ballard followed by Capitol Hill in 2003. The Ballard location is the only store that remains as result of a lack of demand for record stores, a feeling commonly found in Seattle and the digital age.


Jason Hughes and Nabil Ayers, co-owners of Sonic Boom, met working at Easy Street Records and bonded over an appreciation of music. Both were involved in various bands, Ayers most well known for his involvement with The Long Winters and Hughes for Carmine and Six Minute Mile.

Hughes is passionate about local businesses, in past years he organized a shop local campaign, and involved more than thirty local businesses in promoting thinking locally.

Hughes also administers a Facebook page in which Ballard storeowners report shoplifters and update each other on neighborhood activity. “Owners usually find a picture from their videos of the shop-lifter then post a picture of the shoplifters face on the Facebook page, so that other owners know who to look for.” The group has expanded so much that the group now has ‘eyes on the street’, otherwise known as the owner of Ninja BBQ, Siam Sukrachan, who can spot shoplifters on the street and post updates on his phone.

All business aside, Hughes is driven by music. He describes Sonic Boom as “a store with a well curated selection that is customer driven.” The store conducts house calls a few times a month, which involves Hughes and various staff traveling to a potential sellers house to buy their record collections. “Sometimes we leave the house with two cars full of records.”


Matt, an employee at Sonic Boom, works at Sonic Boom for his love of music, and through his job has come to appreciate every genre of music. “There’s good in every genre if you look for it,” he says. As with many of the employees at Sonic Boom, Matt is unsure as to what brought him to Seattle. “I just came here in 1997 and I’ve been here ever since.” Hughes’ experienced a similar observation, after graduating Berkley College Hughes “jumped on 1-5 and never stopped until Seattle.” Another employee, Greg, moved to Seattle because his car broke down here as he was heading down the Pacific coastline.

Most employees at Sonic Boom have a history in music, whether it be in performance or industry. Greg “dabbled in various instruments” but now resides to a sideline appreciation for underground rock. Matt has no experience preforming, “other than the clarinet in my middle school days,” he chuckles.

Sonic Boom is all about music. It’s employees love music, the owners have a history in the industry and the company focuses on local and small labels for stock. The shop is a Seattle classic that brings Seattleites from all neighborhoods to Ballard.


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