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Sam the Record Man Closure


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Apr 23, 2007
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Yes, it was announced today that Sam the Record Man on Yonge is closing at the end of June.

I am sad, but I cannot say that I am surprised. With the freefall of CD sales and a store that never seemed busy (or had any customers, for that matter), it seemed only a matter of time.

They had a great jazz selection (probably the best in the city) and I will miss it for that reason. As well, their iconic signs on the facade added much life to the city and area.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the site as it's no secret that Ryerson would love it. Let the speculation begin. (I say this is the site for the new W hotel.)
Can't say i'm too sad. As a retailer, it was up to them to adapt to the marketplace which they didn't do. Many times I had gone in there looking for the newest cd only to be disappointed time after time so I just gave up.
Too bad the city couldn't put the signs up somewhere at Dundas Square. Afterall it really was the centre of action on Yonge Street for so many years.
Sam The Record Man-a Yonge Street Institution

Everyone: I find the news about Sam the Record Man store closing on Yonge Street interesting-I saw a news report this morning about the recording industry in some sort of pain-an example shown was an empty Tower Records store as an example-as many know the Tower Records chain went bankrupt and was forced to close earlier this year. I remember on my mostly 80s trips looking there and in A&A's for Canadian records and tapes not available in the US. I have just two other questions-Does the big round neon signs on Yonge that I remember still there? I remember also Peter Dunn's Vinyl Museum-I got alot of records/tapes there also back in the day-as I mentioned I looked for stuff not available in the US or for that matter Canadian-made. An example that comes to mind is the band The Cars-all but two of their albums I have were Canadian. These days I realize with the evolving technology that people have to have those IPODS and other-because of the downloading craze traditional record stores are now hurting-also due to the increase in CD prices also. My thoughts here - LI MIKE
The big round neon signs are still there. Those signs, and all the other potential 'artifacts' would have been great for a Music Hall of Fame in the area, but sadly, that does not appear to be happening.
It will be missed; it is part of Toronto's cultural history. Many people will remember going in to Sam's to buy music. It was the main reason for a trip to Yonge Street. I also remember when they had branch stores in other parts of Toronto and in other cities.

I have to agree that they didn't seem to change with the times, which is deadly in retailing.

Hope Ryerson can do something with the site, but it will be an expensive piece of land.

TORONTO: Jason and Bobby Sniderman, the sons of Sam Sniderman and present owners of the Sam the Record Man store on Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, today announced that the fabled store will be closing on Saturday, June 30, 2007. This momentous decision comes after much reflection and consideration of the vagaries of the retail record business, which has been in steady decline in recent years. Barely a day goes by without some commentary on declining CD sales, which have experienced a documented 35% drop in the Canadian Record Industry in the first quarter of 2007.

Said Bobby:
"We are making a responsible decision in recognizing the status of the record industry and the increasing impact of technology. But, there is a wonderful story to be told here, not about the current state of the industry, but about a family business that operated for 70 years in record retailing. Throughout that time, our family has made significant contributions to the music industry, for Canadian artists and to the community as a whole, but our greatest asset has been the contribution from the most gifted group of employees who share our dedication and love of music. This is about more than just bricks and mortar; Sam the Record Man is the most recognizable name in the Canadian Music Industry, an iconic legacy that will forever endure and perhaps, other opportunities will arise for us to develop the brand in the expanding delivery of music.â€

"We want to extend our gratitude to every person who has ever been associated with our organization; from all of the people in the music industry, to every shopper who came into our stores - even if they were just browsing - to celebrate this moment with all of the staff who have worked with us and finally, to share this with and pay tribute to our father, 'Sam’. Thank you all; this has all been very worthwhile and we truly appreciate your support.â€

Please note that this decision does not have any bearing on the two franchise stores in Belleville and Sarnia; which remain in operation.
those signs should be protected by heritage status. of course, this might not be realistic.
They should put those neon records somewhere on metropolis (life center or whatever its called) I can imagine those things spinning up high somewhere as a piece of public art.
I can't see Pen Equity giving over any advertising space for the heavily nostalgic Sam's signs at Metropolis.

Something should be done with them though, even if it's just incorporating them into whatever gets built on this site. I would imagine the City would provide some serious incentive for any redevelopment to include them in the design. Preservation of the signs could mean a waiver of the public art requirememt for instance.

Sam the Record Man to close

Sam the Record Man shutting its doors on June 30

Canadian Press

TORONTO — Internet downloading has claimed another casualty: the landmark Sam the Record Man store on Toronto's Yonge Street is shutting its doors next month.

Jason and Bobby Sniderman, the sons of Sam Sniderman and present owners of the downtown store say their decision reflects the increasing impact of technology on the record industry.

The closure leaves just two independent Sam's across the country -- one in Belleville, Ont., and another in Sarnia, Ont.

Sam's store on Yonge Street was started by Sam Sniderman 70 years ago.

In its heyday, there were more than 100 stores across the country.

The brothers had to take the same difficult decision in February, when they closed another store in Halifax after the business couldn't break even, let alone turn a profit.

They say the store's iconic legacy "will forever endure and perhaps, other opportunities will arise for us to develop the brand in the expanding delivery of music."

The Yonge Street store will close on June 30.
I agree with the sentiment mentioned above -- I will miss Sam's as a landmark, although not so much as a retailer. I do, however, have great memories of walking the aisles of Sam's and buying CDs.

Someone living in that ward should email Kyle Rae to encourage him propose designating the signage under the Ontario Heritage Act. It won't mean that the signage would remain intact as is for all time, but it would give Council a fair degree of control over its fate. I'll be emailing him, but I suspect emails from his own consituents might have more sway.
Mention to Kyle that - you saw it here first! Seriously, if you can mention that this issue is generating discussion at, it will point him here if he's not already reading us. I hope he is...

...and I will Sam's as a retailer. I suppose I haven't helped them out too much lately, but I have bought a lot from them over the years and I will miss the store.