In 1956, The Exclusive Company opened its first location in West Bend – 66 years and seven locations across Wisconsin later, the independent record store is coming to an end. It announced on Thursday that over the “coming months” the six remaining Wisconsin stores would close down.
The closing was attributed to the death of The Exclusive Company’s founder and owner James “Mr. G” Giombetti, who died in November of 2021. Besides founding the store in the ’50s and operating its multiple locations for years afterward, he was well known for his radio and television ads for The Exclusive Company, each ending in his signature, “Say it with me.”
“With the passing of Mr. G, we have lost not only the ‘voice’ of The Exclusive Company but its very soul,” The Exclusive Company’s closing announcement read. “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.”
In March, The Exclusive Company closed its East Side location in Milwaukee, but announced that two of the former employees were opening a new record store, Lilliput Records, in its place.
The Exclusive Company has stores in Appleton, Green Bay, Greenfield, Janesville, Milwaukee and Oshkosh. It announced that that some, but not all of the locations will also be replaced by other independent, locally owned record stores.
“In the coming days we will be announcing through our website, social media, radio and print a phased schedule for the closing of each store,” the announcement read. “All of the closing stores will go through a liquidation of their entire inventory.”
And on Record Store Day, April 23, the locations in Appleton, Green Bay, Greenfield, Milwaukee and Oshkosh will all still be participating with “a full complement of special Record Store Day releases.”
Lilliput Records released a tribute and transition video on Thursday with customers sharing their favorite memories of The Exclusive Company.
“Finally, as we prepare for the end of The Exclusive Company’s era in the Wisconsin music industry, we invite you all to help us remember and honor Mr. G’s life and legacy by stopping in to reminisce, share a story, or simply say goodbye,” The Exclusive Company’s announcement read. “Get ready, Wisconsin, to ‘say it with me’ one last time.”