Musical company

Customers Share Memories of The Exclusive Company at Record Store Day Celebration

GREEN BAY (NBC 26) – The Exclusive Company has been a hub for music lovers in Green Bay for generations, first opening its doors in 1985. Now many customers will soon have to say goodbye to their local music venue prefer. This month, the Wisconsin chain announced it would close all of its stores following a clearance sale.

“It was kind of a shock. He’s been here forever,” said Steven Lichin, a customer who’s been visiting the store for 8 years. “You hear your parents talking about the place you know ‘Is that store still there?’ Yes, he is still there.

Customers shared their favorite memories of the store during its Record Store Day sale on April 23. Customers lined up as 20 people were allowed to shop for 15 minutes at a time.

“I got a record player for Christmas from my dad who is great at music,” said Colton Coulombe, another regular customer. “It’s the only record store he would buy in the area, so we started coming here.”

Store Manager Tom Smith has run the store for 27 years.

“Working in a record store is literally the only job I’ve ever wanted and I’ve only ever had two jobs in my life and they’ve both been in record stores,” Smith said. “I love working with music, I love interacting with people who love music.”

Smith says what makes The Exclusive Company unique is its support of local artists and a wide variety of non-traditional music, which he credits to channel owner James Giombetti.

“He let you stock whatever you wanted and you had a pretty healthy budget, which is why we had such a wide and deep selection,” Smith said. “That’s why we also try to have genres that a lot of stores don’t stock or specialize in.”

Customers say what makes The Exclusive Company special is the personal touch of getting to know the store employees.

“It’s more personal because they handle it, they do the catalogs, they publish it, they do all the postings, it’s really their own thing,” Coulombe said.

“A lot of them are like family, like family kids, they draw me cool pictures of Joey Ramone and stuff,” Smith said.

While the store’s closure came as a shock to customers and employees, Smith says the memories he made at the store will always stay with him.

“That’s why I’ve been able to stay energized and not let retail make me too jaded and cynical, because of my love of music and the great customers who shop here,” Smith said.