The end of a long era in Wisconsin recorded music retailing has arrived, and it's a sad day for the Badger State record buying public.
Last month, news emerged that The Exclusive Company would close its longstanding record store at 1669 N. Farwell Ave., and that a group of employees was fundraising to reopen it as Lilliput Records.
Last night, the Exclusive Company, founded 66 years ago by James "Mr. G" Giombetti in West Bend, announced that it will close all its locations due to the unexpected death in November of its founder.
"The Exclusive Company became his one and only passion and purpose in life," the post notes. "Over the years he grew the business into a thriving chain of record stores, and endeared himself to his loyal customers and all who knew him.
"With the passing of Mr. G, we have lost not only the 'voice' of The Exclusive Company but its very soul. Mr. G was The Exclusive Company and The Exclusive Company was Mr. G. Sadly and simply, The Exclusive Company cannot, and should not, go on one without the other."
The company currently has six locations, according to its Facebook page.
The post added that the company hoped some locations (like West Bend and Farwell Avenue) will move forward under new ownership.
"Our greatest hopes and efforts were for all of our locations to continue under new ownership as locally owned independent record stores. That will be the case at some locations but not all. We are confident that any void left behind by the departure of The Exclusive Company will soon be filled by the next generation of music loving Wisconsin entrepreneurs."
There is no specific closing date for the stores beyond, "in the coming months."
The Exclusive Company will celebrate Record Store Day on April 23 and will then, "be selling to the bare walls. Everything must go!"
Here is the post in full:
Here, too, is the latest Facebook update from Lilliput:
The GoFundMe, which has a goal of $120,000 has raised just under $15,000 at the moment. You can donate here.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.