Actually - I'll end this.
C'mon man, I'm not being hostile. I'm not happy about this at all. I intensely support indie record stores more than your average joe, and I do it with my wallet. Why would I drive down to Magnolia when Sour was 15 minutes closer to my house? (note: I rarely did this before 2004) In fact, since 2004 I work about 5 minutes away, but still find myself driving down to campus to get my record/cd fix.
I never said he (John) sucks - I just think the core of the clientele that Steve installed at that shop (a selling point between the two, by the way) has failed to stay because of the way John runs things there, not knocking him, or you, personally. When I speak of charm, I was referring to the shop, even though the owner has a lot to do with that.
The Sour problems simply began when Steve left, most of those things were not because of a John vs Steve personality thing. But when John showed little interest, less drive, and/or excitement in the shop or things as simple as getting stuff in for the core customer base (it's not just me), it was hard to go back for a vague shopping experience at best. I never claimed to know everything about his business, but I do know enough to comment on how he ran it, this is from many personal experiences. Certainly it was an uphill battle, but I feel he never gave himself a chance, so it's not completely fair to blame the internet and what not.
Also, I never claimed Steve was congenial, but that was the last thing on his customers minds, believe me. He hated certain things he ordered in for me, and I hated his unabashed bias for all things Dylan. I'd always see Steve at shows and could tell him to get the band's material in, I'd go in the store and there it would be. This was no longer the case when he left. Steve's enthusiasm for music left the store when he left. Sour Records was successful enough when he ran it, and even though things in the marketplace have changed, I think things could have turned out different than they have.
Lastly, I understand you have an allegiance to John as a friend. When I first started going to Sour, many years ago, Steve was eager to know me by name. You might say sure he would, but what successful shop owner wouldn't make such an effort? I'll give you one guess. What I did have was an allegiance to Sour as a great indie record store. Now I don't. Nobody does.