April 4, 2022 – West Bend, WI – The Exclusive Co. red lettered neon sign no longer hangs from the window at 156 N. Main Street in West Bend, WI. On Tuesday, April 5, 2022, doors will be closed, inventory assessed, and by Wednesday, April 6, a new musical dawn will dawn with the store opening. Beat Goes On Records and more.
The staff at The Exclusive Co. have spent the last few weeks cleaning up and noting inventory and cleaning up even more. “We found an old bottle of Fireball whiskey in the back room,” the Mikayla said. “It had been opened; we thought it belonged to Dennis.
It would be “the” Denis Benn the store’s longtime manager.
Other valuables include the red-lettered neon sign, now placed between the standing cardboard cutouts of AC/DC and Mariah Carey.
Joe and Mary Zaremba are the new owners of the business. Joe, in particular, was the driving force behind the deal.
“I’ve been buying records since I was 10 and I’m just a music fanatic. I really love music and I love vinyl and I love this place.
“I’ve been going there (to The Exclusive Co.) since the ’80s and when I found out there was a chance it might go away, it really hit me hard,” Joe said.
“I went home and talked to Mary, and she said that was pretty interesting and let’s look at that in more depth.
“The reality is that when I contacted Exclusive I wasn’t sure if that was an option. I started hearing that other stores were on liquidation so I wasn’t sure if they already had a plan When I reached out we had a great conversation and we agreed that there was a vision that we both had and here we are.
As for the new store name, Joe said it was brainstormed.
“I went back to some of the old record stores I used to go to when I was a kid and decided not to buy them. It just made me feel good; he continues the story, that’s why we chose him,” he said.
Some of the names they passed on include Flipside, Uncle Albert and Rolling Stone Records.
Asked if Exclusive Co. had asked for the name to be changed as part of the agreement, Zaremba simply replied: “It was very clear that this brand was going to disappear. So we had to come up with something pretty quick.
Community reaction to the change has been “overwhelming and positive”.
“Most of the time it’s been humbling,” Joe said. “Everyone just seems to realize he’s the right person.”
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The Exclusive Co. was known for its bins of 33 rpm records alphabetized by musical genres. The smell of Pisculli when you walk through the heavy wooden door. The black-flecked terrazzo flooring and the ever-changing rock n’ roll posters pasted on the walls.
There’s a display case at the counter that held random collectibles like rock band KISS figurines. There’s also the support beam at the entrance to the store covered in round pins of heavy metal bands to a trendy saying.
Asked what will change, Joe said: “We don’t want to break anything that isn’t broken. Our goal is to keep it super positive; you know, the formula works there and people… we don’t want to do anything to mess that up.