Cool neighborhood record stores used to be a fixture in nearly any Black neighborhood, but times are tough, and they’ve all begun to vanish from the landscape. Yet Dayton, Ohio’s 14 Karat Gold Record Store is a throwback to that earlier era, catering to the residents of Dayton’s West Side with a well-stocked selection of blues, gospel, R & B and rap. Though the store is clearly a survivor, nothing quite prepared me for the utter desolation that has enveloped West Dayton, even though I’m from Memphis and used to grimy urban scenes. Past the massive Desoto-Bass Courts housing project were blocks of bombed-out looking buildings. Along Gettysburg Avenue, nothing was all that much better. Even the fast food restaurants were largely closed. Given the sad state of the area, it’s even more amazing that 14 Karat Gold has managed to hold on. Here’s hoping they continue to make it.