The Toronto flagship of former Canadian music retail giant Sam the Record Man will close for good June 30.

The Sniderman brothers, Sam and Sidney, started selling records in 1937 as Sniderman's Music Hall on Toronto's College Street.

The flagship store on Toronto's busy Yonge Street strip opened in 1961. It is by far the most recognized music outlet in Canada, and has counted the likes of Elton John, Rush, and Gordon Lightfoot among its shoppers.

At its peak in the mid-'80s, Sam the Record Man was a network of 106 corporate, franchise, and dealership stores, dominating the Canadian music retail marketplace with an estimated 25% of all purchases, according to industry sources.

But its prominence diminished in the '90s with the growth of HMV Canada, in particular, as well as competition from Wal-Mart, Zellers, and the electronic chain Future Shop.

As a result, the Sam the Record Man chain -- which had dwindled to 30 family-owned and 11 independentl-owned franchise stores -- filed for bankruptcy in 2001 with the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. After liquidating most of its stock, Sam's two sons, Jason and Robert Sniderman, took over the remaining store outlets in Toronto and Halifax, Nova Scotia in 2002.

However, according to sources, the stores continued to be battered by a downtown in the marketplace and by the rise of Internet downloading. Earlier this year, Sam the Record Man's Halifax store closed.

"We are making a responsible decision in recognizing the status of the record industry and the increasing impact of technology," says Robert Sniderman about the Toronto closure.

Two independently-owned Sam the Record Man franchise stores in Belleville, Ont., and Sarnia, Ont., will remain open.