Gramophone Shop faces the music
The advent of technology is generally considered a positive thing. Thanks to quicker download speeds and a more intelligent Internet, people have more options than ever for their entertainment needs. Whether you want to buy a song on iTunes or stream a movie directly to your TV through Netflix, technology has given the consumer the ability to choose the way we absorb information and entertainment.
However, this technological trend along with other penetrating reasons has forced some very hard times on the Gramophone Video shop on Main Street. The Gramophone brand has been prevalent in New Canaan since owner Jack Trifero opened what was originally a record store in 1973. Thanks to competition from Netflix, On-Demand, satellite and even the library, the store is facing eviction Jan. 20.
"It is a phenomenal brand," Trifero said. "And we have a phenomenal clientele. We have just hit some tough times."
The shop has fallen behind on rent according to housing division documents from the Norwalk Superior Court. Cody Real Estate, Trifero's landlord, is owed more than $35,000 in rent. The shop was originally meant to be vacated by Oct. 19 but Trifero has soldiered on with an extension he hopes will continue through Jan. 20 after the holiday season.
"I have had a great relationship with my landlord, the Codys," Trifero said. "They have helped me succeed for all the years the store has been around and I thank them for that."
As of right now, Trifero hopes to sell the store through a broker and maybe even keep the brand alive.
Selectman Rob Mallozzi, owner of Bob's Sports, can identify with the tough times a business can fall on.
"I think Jack was the victim of technology and the fact that people have found other ways to get their movies," he said.
Mallozzi also reiterated that with the way the economy is right now, people will be looking for more options.
"It is similar to how people are finding other ways to get lacrosse sticks," he said regarding his own store. "But it definitely is a nice shop."
"I still think, even though the Internet is prevalent, that people in New Canaan need our business," Trifero said. "It just needs new blood."
He insisted that the business can succeed with someone new at the helm.
"The best case scenario would be to get a younger person to do this as I did when I opened the shop," he said. "I was 22 years old when this all started."
The store began has a record shop in 1973. It was not until 1986 that a video store was also opened in addition to the music aspect. Then three years ago, the music store and video store were combined into the current location at 99 Main St. That makes for nearly 40 years of success in New Canaan and 40 years of ownership by Trifero himself.
He explained that he feels someone more youthful, entrepreneurial and tech savvy could keep the store going running as long as it already has.
"Which is not to say that I am not passionate about keep the brand alive," he said. "I just believe my chapter is finally closed."