One of the last bastions of music retail in the Big Apple having survived Sam Goody, Tower, Virgin, HMV and countless others who came and went over the years J&R Music World was a solid rock of retail.
Opened in 1971 with one store on Park Row I can remember when Raachele Friedman worked the register in their record department down in the basement under her father’s upstairs electronics store. From that one store they expanded to pretty much buying up all the real estate on that one block (except the hardware store) to an empire and giant of electronics retail with an international reputation.
Back in the hey day of the record business J&R Music World probably sold more records per square inch then any retailer in the US.
In fact when they first started they paid all their vendors in cash. I was a sales rep back then and believe me when I tell you they kept many an independent record distributor afloat with their cash flow.
From 1985 to 1987 I managed their jazz department, a stand alone store on top of their classical store at 33 Park Row.
Back in those days the record business was flush. You could sell records with both hands 9 to 5 with no problem.
During the lunch rush (Noon to 2) you could sell a box of records right off the wall of any new release you played in the store.
I did ‘In Stores' with many jazz legends including Horace Silver, Abbey Lincoln and Wayne Shorter.
You never knew who would stop in the store. One time the actor Matt Dillion came in looking for classic Be Bop records for a role he was considering.
The article in the New York Times says it’s a reorganization so who know’s what the future will bring.