Like numerous Canadians, I obtained numerous music music training by wandering round a Sam the File Man retailer.
In my case, I’d be dropped off on the Backyard Metropolis Procuring Centre in Winnipeg whereas my mother took my sister to music classes. I spent untold hours flicking via the racks, watching what different individuals purchased, inspecting the Prime 40 singles show, and being attentive to what was taking part in on the shop stereo. I may solely afford to purchase a lot on the meagre quantity I earned via part-time jobs, however I nearly at all times went residence with one thing.
There was additionally this magical looseleaf ebook on a steel stand that purportedly listed the artist, title, and catalogue variety of each report in existence. Submit your request to a clerk and in a mere three to 6 weeks, that report could be delivered to the shop.
There have been perhaps half a dozen of Sam’s shops in Winnipeg. I patronized all of them, particularly those at Polo Park (the place I purchased my first-ever 45, Pleasure by Apollo 100) and Unicity, a mall that was demolished way back.
Once I moved to Toronto, one of many first locations I visited was the Sam’s on Yonge Avenue with its well-known neon spinning data. Wandering round there via all of the completely different flooring was an expertise. Even after the HMV superstore moved in down the road, Sam’s usually had data in inventory nobody else did. Once I was DJing membership nights in locations like Hamilton, I usually dropped into that downtown retailer to see if I may choose up any new CDs to play that evening. And don’t get me began on the notorious Boxing Day gross sales.
Sam the File Man started as part of Sniderman’s Radio Gross sales and Service at 714 Faculty St. in Toronto, a retailer that opened in 1920. Sam and Sidney Sniderman satisfied the household to supply up a nook of the shop for data beneath the title “Sniderman’s Music Corridor.” In 1959, enterprise was so good that they took over the basement of Yolle Furnishings on Yonge Avenue. Two years after that, the legendary most important retailer opened at 347 Yonge. It sat subsequent to the Steeles Tavern, which separated Sam’s from its largest competitor, A&A Information.
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The shop acquired larger and larger through the years. A 3rd flooring. The Third Ground Cut price Basement. There was a video division and a spot to purchase live performance tickets. When CIBC closed a department subsequent door, that turned Sam’s annex, housing classical data. Anybody bear in mind Sam the Tape Man? It had its personal area a couple of doorways north and specialised in cassettes, 8-tracks, and reel-to-reel releases. And in the event you weren’t considering tapes, there was Sam the Chinese language Meals Man upstairs. Within the Nineteen Nineties, Sam’s jumped into computer systems with Sam the Interactive Man. All shops acquired into promoting DVDs, pre-recorded DAT tapes, and Mini-Discs. And there was Community, a free music journal.
Issues started within the early 2000s. Possibly the chain expanded too quick. Possibly Sam’s was the canary within the coal mine that predicted the disastrous fall in bodily music gross sales that adopted the explosion of the provision of music on-line. Possibly Sam’s tried to be too many issues to too many individuals. Or perhaps it was the extreme competitors from different chains. Yonge Avenue, for instance, as soon as featured the best density of main report shops wherever on the earth between Queen and Gerrard.
Sam’s filed for chapter in 2001. The roughly 130 to 140 shops started closing, whittling all the way down to a couple of dozen franchise retailers, most of which weren’t lined by the chapter. The final corporately owned retailer outdoors of Toronto — a Halifax location — shut its doorways without end on Feb. 20, 2007.
The Yonge Avenue flagship closed without end on June 30, 2007, regardless of a determined effort to maintain it afloat. Ryerson College (now Metropolitan U) purchased the positioning, tore down the shop and expanded its campus with the brand new Scholar Studying Centre. The well-known spinning neon indicators had been saved and after years in storage had been put in above Yonge-Dundas Sq., now known as Sankofa Sq..
Yonge-Dundas sq. to be renamed Sankofa Sq. however will Torontonians use the brand new title?
However not all shops gave up the ghost. Eleven franchise areas, all of which had been outdoors the chapter submitting, tried to hold on. In the end, although, they, too, disappeared.
There was a Sam the File Man on Exmouth Avenue in Sarnia that held on till 2009. And final week, we heard that the final Sam’s on the earth, a location contained in the Quinte Mall in Belleville, Ontario, is to shut. It’s not that the shop isn’t doing effectively. It’s. It’s simply that after operating the place for 45 years, the house owners wish to retire.
Or is it? Spencer Destun, who owns the shop in addition to a few different retailers in Kingston and Oshawa, could be very joyful if his Sam’s may very well be offered to somebody so it may keep open.
Doug Putnam, the Ancaster, Ont.-based toy mogul who purchased up all of the HMV leases when that firm went bankrupt and turned them into profitable Dawn Information areas (and spectacularly could be . He additionally orchestrated a spectacular turnaround for the HMV model within the U.Ok. What’s yet one more retailer?
It might be unhappy to see Sam the File Man disappear from the Canadian panorama. Even in the event you thought it had already gone.
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