Musical company

TMJ4 Staff Share Their Fondest Memories Of The Exclusive Company

MILWAUKEE – The Exclusive Company has brought music and memories to generations across Wisconsin for the past 66 years.

But that will come to an end after The Exclusive Company announced that it would be closing all of its locations following the death of company founder and owner James “Mr. G” Giombetti.

The Exclusive Company has such a long history in our community that it sparked a nostalgic conversation in our newsroom this morning.

Here are some of our fondest memories of shopping at The Exclusive Company over the years.

Investigative journalist Shaun Gallagher: My wife and I spent hours flipping through records at the Exclusive Company location near Brady & Farwell. There’s something so satisfying about finding a record that your loved one would be interested in and picking it up and turning it over for them to see while they’re across the aisle doing the same thing. The music may have an air of pretentiousness, but even with a name like “Exclusive”, it never seemed like anything more than a quintessential Milwaukee spot where normal people came to share a universal love of music, whatever whatever the gender.

Hailey McLaughlin, Real Time Desktop Editor: There’s nothing quite like spending hours browsing through records and Exclusive on Farewell was the place to go. In college, when I had nothing to do on a Friday night, I would head to the record store and waste my time looking for pearls. My record collection has over 100 pieces and I can’t tell you how many of them are from Exclusive. I’m so sad to see it go, but I really hope another local store can take its place on Farwell.

Content Operations Manager Jim Collins: “SAY IT WITH ME! THE EXCLUSIVE COMPANY!” The radio and television commercials they have done over the decades are seared into my brain! This advertiser is a Milwaukee institution.

Production Specialist Michael Elfe: Advertising is what got me into The Exclusive Company as a teenager and young adult. Say it with me, The Exclusive Company. I used to go to the Farwell location in Milwaukee and 15-20 years ago they had many more smaller locations including one in Brown Deer and other small malls in the state. Always searched for the latest music CDs until around the early 2010s. They’ve survived long enough even with all the changes in the way we access music without a piece of physical hardware the music has to be played on and they’re now all downloads and streaming services on almost every device . That’s what I remember from The Exclusive Company.

Sales Support Assistant Ana Verdin: Lots of skateboarding memories at Exclusive Company Sat’s with friends. Take a look at the posters as soon as you walk in to make sure we don’t miss any local ska bands performing locally this weekend. Lost many hours going through new CDs and old records.
Good time!

Jeremy Dunk

Jeremy Dunk
Jeremy Dunk

Jeremy Dunk

Jeremy Dunk

Photojournalist Jeremy Dunk: Exclusive Company was everything to me when I moved here 6 and a half years ago. I’m the dying breed of music lovers who still buy CDs and over time Best Buy and other big box stores stopped selling them leaving me without a physical store to support my bands. And then I discovered Exclusif! I would go get the latest release but then spend an hour walking down each aisle rummaging through all the used CDs leaving with between 5 and 10 hidden gems that I didn’t expect to buy. Over the years, I’ve found CDs that I’ve wanted to own for years that were either no longer in production or just never able to find online. Also, when my favorite band TOOL released their first album in 15 years, it was Exclusive on Brady St which opened at midnight, so diehards like me were able to get it as soon as it came out! I’ve had to defend my CD-buying habit from almost every reporter here when they see my classic iPod for the first time or see me put a CD in the car stereo and they wonder why I don’t just listen to songs on Spotify and so on, but these people will never get it how finding music in a physical way is a different soothing thrill than just looking for a random song on a streaming service. Bands strive to create album covers and owning this art is worth the time and money to support their work.

Journalist Tony Atkins:

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