Music and electronics retailer J&R Music and Computer World will shutter its store on Park Row in lower Manhattan Thursday after 43 years in business.
In a letter to customers on the store's website, owners Joe and Rachelle Friedman said, "On April 10, J&R will close its doors so that we can rebuild this location into what we hope will be an unprecedented retail concept and social mecca. In order to facilitate this exciting new initiative, the buildings that J&R occupies have to be totally reimagined and redeveloped.”
J&R opened its doors in 1971 and eventually expanded to take over most of Park Row, having 10 different stores in as many as four buildings. While it began as a stereo component and record store, it soon offered computer products, camera's phones and all kinds of consumer electronics.
At its peak, J&R was said to be doing $350 million to $400 million a year, while its record store and mail order were doing about $20 million a year. In fact, J&R was the only independent music superstore going toe-to-toe when Tower Records, HMV, Virgin Megastore, Sam Goody and Trans World made New York City a music superstore haven. Counting J&R and stores from those chains, there were 10 superstores in NYC, ranging from 12,000 square feet to 50,000, during the 1990's.
It turned out to be the last music superstore standing and if the company is true to its word, it will rise like a Phoenix once again, although the question of whether they will still carry CDs and vinyl may very well be decided by whether record labels are still issuing music in those formats when the day comes that the store reopens.