Flagship Sam the Record Man to close in June
Yonge Street's Sam the Record Man store, one of Toronto's most iconic landmarks, will close its doors next month.
Jason and Bobby Sniderman, the sons of original owner Sam Sniderman, say that declining CD sales, the ever-changing face of technology and competition from franchise stores are the main factors for the close.
"We are making a responsible decision in recognizing the status of the record industry and the increasing impact of technology," said Bobby Sniderman in a press release issued Tuesday.
The brothers say the store's legacy "will forever endure and perhaps, other opportunities will arise for us to develop the brand in the expanding delivery of music."
John Donabie, a broadcaster, said that when the company's flagship store closes its doors it will leave a hole in the city's downtown culture.
"Without Sam's I can honestly say to you that Yonge Street will never be the same. Those big spinning discs, they're a part of my childhood," he said.
Thousands of people have flocked to the social networking site Facebook to voice their dismay.
The largest group dedicated to the downtown store, "Save the Sam's Sign," already boasts almost 2,000 members.
The Facebook users want the enormous spinning neon records on the store's exterior, a draw for tourists and a symbol of Toronto's downtown core, to be salvaged and declared a city landmark.
In 2001, the store went bankrupt and was reopened by Sniderman's sons the following year.
During the height of the business, there were more than 100 stores across the country.
With the close of the Yonge Street flagship store, only two independent Sam's stores are left across the country -- one in Belleville, Ont., and another in Sarnia, Ont.
The store was known for giving struggling Canadian musicians a chance, often housing independent local records that most downtown chains didn't carry.
Sam Sniderman started selling records out of his brother's radio shop in 1937 and opened the Yonge Street store in 1961.
"He stood across the street at the corner of Yonge and Elm, looked at the store and said 'This is where we're going to build our family legacy'," Bobby Sniderman explained.
The Yonge St. store covered 40,000 square feet and in 2002, it carried 400,000 titles.
Sniderman's contributions to the music industry earned him an Order of Canada and the respect of some of Canada's most prominent musicians.
The Canadian-music fixture will close on June 30.
With a report from CTV's John Musselman and files from The Canadian Press