Tower Records superstores were distinguished by their size (20,000 - 40,000 square feet), their expansive selection (up to 125,000 titles from all music genres), and discount prices. The 'theatre of retail' was deftly applied. As Solomon once explained, 'We stacked hot-selling items on the floor, to encourage impulse buying and to suggest plentiful supplies.' Extended hours: open all year from 9 a.m. to midnight. Popular bands and singers sometimes held in-store performances. But, according to Solomon, the most important innovations were 'hiring a staff so well-versed in the local music scene that the store could order its own inventory [for its own market.] We wanted [local] people in the store to run the [local] store – they're your strength.' Yes, Tower Records checked off a lot of today's 'best practices': empowered and knowledgeable staff; a 'Wow!' effect in visual merchandising; in-store events; de-centralized buying customized to each market; very competitive pricing. And what went wrong? That too offers a lesson for today's retailers. Too much debt . Rather than selling stock in the stores to fund expansion, he borrowed to finance more stores. And that led to Tower Records' demise. 'I was over-extended. I was swamped by the debt,' Solomon admitted. Towering lessons indeed. RIP, Russ Solomon and Tower Records.