Fate of last Sam the Record Man store uncertain as owners announce ‘retirement sale’

The last remaining Sam the Record Man store in Canada could soon be shutting its doors.

The owners of the Belleville store recently announced a “retirement sale” would be held at the location.

Although the fate of the store remains up in the air, they tell CTVNewsToronto.ca that closing is certainly a possibility if they are unable to find someone to take over the business.

“Although we’re not closing right now, at my age, obviously I can’t keep going forever,” said 84-year-old Spencer Destun, who owns Sam the Record Man in addition to two other music record stores with his wife and son. “So, closing certainly is a possibility somewhere in the future.”

Located in the Quinte Mall, Destun’s store is the last to remain open in what was once the largest music recording retailer chain in Canada. There were 140 store locations opened in its prime, including in downtown Toronto, until the franchise filed for bankruptcy in 2001 and the Yonge Street location shuttered its doors in 2007.

The store carries CDs, vinyl records, cassette tapes, movies and some music gear. Those familiar with the store are likely to recognize its iconic neon sign that was purchased by Toronto Metropolian University in 2008, formally known as Ryerson University.

Fate of last Sam the Record Man store uncertain as owners announce ‘retirement sale’

For over a decade, the Belleville location has been the last still standing. Destun put it on the market for a year, hoping to pass the torch off to someone from a younger generation. He said that he’s now rethinking his decision, and took it off the market in December.

“We changed so much in 45-years, I expect the next ten-to-20 to be very tumultuous and I needed somebody with fresh ideas,” he said in an interview with CTVNewsToronto.ca. “And if I was 25-years younger, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.”

Going forward, Destun says that he’s looking into all options available to him, including transferring ownership to key employees or developing an exit strategy.

The retirement sale, he said, was announced in hopes of reducing inventory so that, if put back on the market, the store might sell more quickly.

“Over 45-years, we’ve accumulated a lot of inventory,” he said, explaining that’s OK because it’s what makes their store different than others.

“But, any new person coming in doesn’t need to have three copies of Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall.’”

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