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TMJ4 Staff share their fondest memories of The Exclusive Company

The Exclusive Company
Posted at 12:32 PM, Apr 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-08 13:32:00-04

MILWAUKEE — The Exclusive Company has brought music and memories to generations throughout Wisconsin during the last 66 years.

But that will be coming to an end after The Exclusive Company announced it will be closing all of their locations after the passing of the company's founder and owner, James "Mr. G" Giombetti.

The Exclusive Company has such a long history in our community that it struck some nostalgic conversation in our newsroom this morning.

Here are some of our fondest memories from shopping at The Exclusive Company over the years.

Investigative Reporter Shaun Gallagher: My wife and I have spent hours thumbing through records at the Exclusive Company location near Brady & Farwell. There’s something so satisfying about finding a record your significant other would be interested in and picking it up and flipping around for them to see while they’re across the aisle doing the same thing. Music can have an air of pretense to it, but even with a name like “Exclusive,” it never felt like anything more than a quintessential Milwaukee spot where normal people came to share a universal love of music, no matter the genre.

Real-Time Desk Editor Hailey McLaughlin: There's nothing like spending hours looking through records and Exclusive on Farewell was the place to go. During college, when I had nothing to do on a Friday night, I'd head to the record store and just waste my time looking for the gems. My record collection has over 100 pieces and I can't tell you how many of them have come from Exclusive. I'm so sad to see it go, but I'm really hoping another local shop can take its place on Farwell.

Content Operations Manager Jim Collins: "SAY IT WITH ME! THE EXCLUSIVE... COMPANY!" The radio and TV ads they made over the decades are burned into my brain! That announcer is a Milwaukee institution.

Production Specialist Michael Elfe: The commercial is what got me into The Exclusive Company when I was a teenager and young adult. Say it with me, The Exclusive Company. I would go to the location on Farwell in Milwaukee and they used to have a lot more smaller locations 15 to 20 years ago including one in Brown Deer and in other small shopping centers around the state. Always looked for the latest CD's of music until around the early 2010's. They survived quite a long time even with all of the change of how we get access to music without a physical piece of material for the music to be played on and it is now all downloads and streaming services on almost any device. That is what I remember of The Exclusive Company.

Sales Support Assistant Ana Verdin: Many memories of skate boarding over to Exclusive Company Sat’s with friends. Checking out the posters as you first walk in to make sure we would not be missing out on any local Ska bands performing locally that weekend. Wasted many hours looking through new CD’s and old records.
Good times!

Jeremy Dunk
Jeremy Dunk
Jeremy Dunk
Jeremy Dunk

Photojournalist Jeremy Dunk: Exclusive Company was everything for me when I moved here 6 1/2 years ago. I am the dying breed of music lovers that still buy CDs and as time went on Best Buy and other big stores stopped selling them leaving me without a physical store to support my bands. And then I discovered Exclusive! I'd go in to get the newest release but then spend an hour going through each aisle digging through all the used CDs walking out with between 5-10 hidden gems that I didn't expect to buy. Over the years I have found CDs that I have wanted to own for years that have been out of production or I just never was able to find online. Also, when my favorite band TOOL released their first album in 15 years, it was Exclusive on Brady St that opened their doors at Midnight so diehards like me were able to get it the minute it was released!I've had to defend my CD buying habit to nearly every reporter here when they see my Classic iPod for the first time or see me pop a CD in the car radio and they question why I don't just listen to songs on Spotify and whatnot, but those people will just never understand how browsing for music in a physical manner is a different calming thrill than just finding a random song on a streaming service. The bands put effort into album art and owning that art is worth the time and money to support their work.

Reporter Tony Atkins:

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