GREEN BAY, Wis. (WFRV) — The Exclusive Company announced Thursday it would be closing its doors for good this summer. That news is hitting fans hard.
“I started here in the beginning of August 1988,” said Tom Smith, who has been the manager at the store ever since.
“When I started [here], the CD was really just starting to make a huge splash,” Smith said.
He looked back fondly at the former owner, known affectionately as “Mr. G,” who sadly passed away.
“Managing and being a buyer for him, I feel I had the best possible job you could have in a record store,” Smith told Local 5’s, Barrett Tryon.
While some stores are being bought out by employees, like a location in Milwaukee, many, like the one in downtown Green Bay and others in Northeast Wisconsin, will be closing their doors for good.
One shopper Local 5 caught up with on Friday said something that is shared by many: “It’s gonna be sad because it’s gonna be really missed.”
That’s also the part Smith says he will miss the most.
“We have a lot of customers where we’ll see this person on Friday, this guy comes in on Saturdays, or this guy on Thursday nights,” Smith said.
Music stores are a lost art that means so much to so many.
“You came to pick something up that you order and then you realize there are new releases and you didn’t even know,” a man said.
That love for record stores includes a group just beginning to appreciate them.
“There’s a new, younger generation of kids who want to have a record, want to smell the jacket, you know, have the artwork,” said Smith.
Smith has one final message for everyone — thank you.
“Thank you to the citizens of Northeast Wisconsin and travelers worldwide, in my opinion, to make it one of the greatest record stores that ever existed,” Smith said.
Stores are expected to close sometime in July, by the latest. Liquidation sales at the Green Bay location begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 12.