What is Sam Goody?: Sam Goody history
Sam Goody was an iconic music retail store chain that traces its origins to the late 1930’s when Sam “Goody” Gutowitz (1904-1991) began selling records out of a New York City toy store and eventually opened up a dedicated location for discount records in the 1940’s. The iconic flagship store opened on 49th Street around this time at its peak boasted 4,000 customers a day. In the early days, Sam Goody was known for promotions such as giving customers who spent over $25 a free turntable.
As Sam Goody grew, it had a unique culture among record stores. For example, employees were expected to have an encyclopedic knowledge of music across all genres, but employees were also compensated with generous benefits even if they worked only part-time.
In 1978, Sam Goody was sold to the American Can Company who owned one of its primary competitors, Musicland. The music division of the company was eventually sold off and rolled out into the name Musicland Stores Corporation. Musicland began converting many stores under the more successful Sam Goody name and eventually had up to 190 locations by 1988.
The stores continued to be rebranded as Sam Goody and by the 90’s, but the company began to face trouble keeping up with competition. They continued to try to distinguish themselves in the market by catering to more mature buyers of music such as jazz and classical and introducing discount clubs, and a Sam Goody magazine called REQUEST. The company also introduced the concept of megastores like some of their competitors such as Virgin Megastores and Tower Records and had up to five 30,000 to 50,000 square foot stores with cafes, CDs, cassettes, videos, and apparel items.
In late 2000, Sam Goody and Musicland were sold yet again to Best Buy as it tried to get more into the music retail market, taking on $260 million in debt in the acquisition. Best Buy eventually decided to exit the market as CD sales began to decline and sold off Musicland to Sun Capital. Sun Capital was unable to save the Musicland company, which also included the Suncoast Motion Picture Company.
By 2006, Sam Goody along with the other Musicland assets was bought by Trans World Entertainment which operated the popular FYE (For Your Entertainment) chain. Trans World converted many of the Sam Goody stores to the FYE brand. Trans World had its own challenges as FYE stores continued to struggle with the continual decline of physical music sales due to MP3’s and streaming. FYE stores, and the remaining Sam Goody’s also took on selling more movies, electronic accessories, posters, unique snacks, and video game and anime collectibles to try to diversify their sales.
In 2020, Trans World sold all remaining FYE and Sam Goody assets to Canadian record store chain Sunrise Records for $10 million dollars.
Are there any Sam Goody stores still open? Is Sam Goody still in business?
Incredibly, even though it was once expected that all Sam Goody stores would be converted to FYE stores, there are actually two stores remaining that are still open:
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Sears at Christmas in 2019
Sears at Christmas 2021
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