NARM will honor J&R Music & Computer World owners Rachelle and Joe Friedman with the organization's "Independent Spirit Award." That award will be presented during the awards dinner at the 53rd Annual NARM Convention, to be held May 12 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of J&R's rise from a 500 square-foot store into the largest single location home entertainment, electronics and computer megastore in the country, according to the announcement. It occupies more than 300,000 square-feet of selling space and takes up an entire block on Park Row in Lower Manhattan.

"J&R not only holds a special place in the hearts and minds of New Yorkers, but also in the hearts and minds of the independent music community, the industry at-large and NARM," NARM president Jim Donio said. "For 40 years, J&R has fully embraced the important role of independent retail and led the charge with its great selection, cutting-edge marketing ideas, and unparalleled customer service."

Rachelle Friedman has served an unprecedented three terms as NARM chairman.

J&R's importance to the community has been recognized by the many civic and business organizations who have invited the company to sit on their boards, including the Better Business Bureau of Greater New York, NYC & Company (the official New York City tourism bureau), the Downtown Alliance of New York and the Regional Advisory Board of JPMorgan Chase.

The husband and wife team have recently also been inducted into the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) Hall of Fame. At the 2010 CES show, Rachelle Friedman, joined the Women in Consumer Electronics Hall of Fame.

She has served twice on the Host Committee of the Grammy Awards and has been re-appointed to the National Recording Preservation Board of the Library of Congress. J&R was recently elected to the Dealerscope Hall of Fame.

Past recipients of the NARM Independent Spirit Award include former Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS) president Don Van Cleave and Tommy Boy Entertainment founder/CEO Tom Silverman.

In a separate announcement, NARM reported that Universal Music Group Distribution will present at the convention on May 12 a 90-minute showcase of live performances and a preview of the company's forthcoming summer and fall releases.