After more than 40 years in business the Lower Manhattan landmark J&R electronics superstore is closing temporarily to re-invent itself. NY1's Rocco Vertuccio filed the following report.
It's the end of an era in Lower Manhattan. One that surprised loyal customers of J&R Music and Computer World.
"I'm kind of really surprised because I come here all the time at lunchtime," said one customer.
The store had been a fixture on Park Row for 43 years. On Thursday morning, customers found the store had shut its doors.
Store owners confirmed on their website the store is closed for renovations. Joe and Rachelle Friedman say it's time to reinvent their business because a lot has changed over the years in how people buy and listen to music.
The store opened in 1971 as a record store inside a basement. It grew into a mega music, computer and technology store that took up a whole block on Park Row. It was one of the first stores to open after the September 11th attacks. As times changed the store downsized.
In a statement, the owners said, "As part of these evolutions, we too have have to continue to adapt to the technology, retailing and real estate trends and reinvent ourselves as we continue to look ahead."
Customers say the store will be missed.
"I miss the accessibility to repair your computer, drop it off in the morning pick it up in the evening," said one customer.
"We need retailers in the neighborhood, one of the oldest, one of the best," said another customer.
Even though J&R is closed, customers can still place orders online. A rendering on the store's website shows what the new building will look like. It is unclear when it will reopen, though the rendering does have the year 2015 on it.
Also unclear is exactly what kind of business J&R is being transformed into. The owners will only say it will be an unprecedented retail concept and social mecca.