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Sam the Record Man Closure

Bogtrotter

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"This is the kind of thing that I'll miss not being there, but won't miss as a retailer. It's one of the final holdouts of Yonge's past era."

My sentiments as well. It's one of those TO retail institutions that I like the idea of, like Honest Ed's, but rarely go to myself. Sadly I can't remember the last time I set foot in Sam's. Indeed, neon signs imitating old vinyl records- surely they must hold some value!
 

adma

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There was once a piece in Lola on the Markle Brothers, who did the sign and other such landmarks in 60s/70s Toronto...track it down, if you can...
 

syn

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 30, 2007

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.
Interesting that the stores in Belville and Sarnia will remain while the one in downtown Toronto can't survive...I guess there's just too much competition in the area.

I share the same sentiments with pretty much everyone else - I'll miss it, but not as a useful retail location. I'd occasionally go in and walk around but they were always a step behind (and before their renovation not too long ago, several steps behind).

They can blame the Internet if they'd like, but the HMV just down the street is always busy, as are a few other locations (the HMV just across the street at Eaton Centre doesn't seem to be doing too badly either). They simply failed to adapt to the market, as a lot of older Canadian retail chains have had trouble doing.
 

JasonParis

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Indeed, they weren't very proactive about anything since the 1980s and sort of let the ship slowly sink. One of the few things it continued to have going for it was VERY knowledgable staff and generally cheaper prices than HMV.

While a few gems can sometimes still be found in that store, their selection leaves a lot to be desired and has for about 10 years now.
 

Skeezix

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Mention to Kyle that - you saw it here first! Seriously, if you can mention that this issue is generating discussion at urbantoronto.ca, it will point him here if he's not already reading us. I hope he is...
It wouldn't hurt to also copy Denise Gendron, the manager of Heritage Preservation Services on your email. She's at dgendron@toronto.ca, while Rae is at Councillor_Rae@toronto.ca.
 

Long Island Mike

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Everyone: Did Tower Records ever open a Toronto store? I fully agree that those neon signs should be saved some way-putting them into a recording hall of fame or museum is a good idea! I now wonder if one month from now that loyal Sam's customers will have a farewell get together to say goodbye.. LI MIKE
 

Skeezix

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Everyone: Did Tower Records ever open a Toronto store?
They opened a couple of locations -- one at Queen and Yonge, adjacent to the Eaton Centre, the other up in North York Centre, also on Yonge. When the chain in the U.S. started to falter, one of the first things they did was to close their two Canadian stores.
 

Skeezix

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I fully agree that those neon signs should be saved some way-putting them into a recording hall of fame or museum is a good idea!
Not a bad idea, although I would also like one or two of them to remain outdoors.

I always thought it was kind of sad that the statue of Timothy Eaton ended up in a museum. Don't get me wrong -- I think it's great that it's still accessible to the public, and that folks can still rub his toe for luck. But a part of me feels that the statue belongs in the Eaton Centre, in the mall itself now that Timothy's namesake store is gone, amongst the shoppers, rather than up at Bloor among the museum goers.

Same with the Sam's signs. I think it would be great if one of the spinning records ended up in a museum (perhaps the proposed Toronto museum), but I would hope that some elements of the signage would remain where they belong -- on or close to Yonge, lighting up the street with its neon.
 

Long Island Mike

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Skeezix: Thanks for that info-The reason I asked about Tower Records is the mentioned HMV-a big rival of Tower's. How is A&A's doing? Is Peter Dunn's Vinyl Museum still around? - those are two I would like to know about-LI MIKE
 

Skeezix

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Skeezix: Thanks for that info-The reason I asked about Tower Records is the mentioned HMV-a big rival of Tower's. How is A&A's doing? Is Peter Dunn's Vinyl Museum still around? - those are two I would like to know about-LI MIKE
A&A went bankrupt back in the 1990s. Surprised it took that long. Not a great retailer.

I have no idea about the Vinyl Museum.
 

interchange42

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Peter Dunn's Vinyl Museum closed on Yonge quite a while ago too. (Late 80s maybe?) Dunn continued to run another store on Lake Shore Blvd near Islington in New Toronto late into the 90s as best as I can remember.

42
 

Long Island Mike

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I42: Interesting! A&A's is GONE along with Peter Dunn's VM-On my May 1990 trip to Southern Ontario and TOR PDVM was still on Yonge-perhaps after that time it was closed. Who now is the big music retailer in Downtown TOR? Is it now HMV surprisingly? LI MIKE
 

salvius

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Indeed, they weren't very proactive about anything since the 1980s and sort of let the ship slowly sink. One of the few things it continued to have going for it was VERY knowledgable staff and generally cheaper prices than HMV.
This is no small thing. Their staff was really quite great-people who truly loved music. No request was too obscure, and to top it all of, they'd always have a myriad of recommendations ready at hand.

Though, when you think of it, even that aspect of the store is a relic of the past. Knowledgeable staff is something you don't really get in music stores nowadays.
 

interchange42

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I42: Interesting! A&A's is GONE along with Peter Dunn's VM-On my May 1990 trip to Southern Ontario and TOR PDVM was still on Yonge-perhaps after that time it was closed. Who now is the big music retailer in Downtown TOR? Is it now HMV surprisingly? LI MIKE
Yup, HMV is the big guy now. There is also a Sunrise across the street, and various DJ oriented and used record stores as you head north to Bloor. Best Buy sells CDs and DVDs of course just west of Yonge on Dundas, and Future Shop, which doesn't have CDs and DVDs in their current cramped quarters just north of Sam's will likely add that category when their new Metropolis location opens somewhere in the misty future.

42
 

dt_toronto_geek

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After a movie on Monday night a friend and I were walking up Yonge from about Adelaide and happened to be discussing what businesses had survived from about Queen to Bloor Street as far back as our memories go - to about the late 1970's. Instantly we came up with Sam's, plus Freeman Formals (at Wellesley), House Of Lords, CAA, Zanzibar (we think) and that was all we could come up with.

Yonge Street just won't be the same without Sam's. I don't buy much music anymore but I buy most of my DVD's there.
 

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