Episode 39

Published on:

25th Apr 2022

The Beat Goes On Records & More in West Bend with Joe Zaremba and Jesse Averill

Joe Zaremba is really big into records. So when he heard that The Exclusive Company was closing all of their seven remaining stores, he and his wife decided to do something about it. So, they bought it.

They are now the proud new owners of The Beat Goes On Records & More in downtown West Bend.

Joe joins me with longtime Exclusive Company employee, Jesse Averill, to talk about the history of the store and what drove Joe and Mary to buy it.

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Fuzz Martin 0:09

Oh, hey, I didn't see you there. Thanks for stopping by 15 Minutes with Fuzz. Is this your first time here? No. Well, for those of you who are new here, my name is Fuzz Martin and this is a weekly podcast about positive things happening in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. You may have heard the news recently that southeastern Wisconsin's most famous chain of local record stores, the Exclusive Company has announced that it is closing all of its stores. After many many years, you may have also heard that the original store of the West Bend store has been purchased by Joe and Mary Zaremba and is now called the beat goes on records and more. Joe and hilarious longtime Exclusive Company employee Jesse Averill will join me to talk about the historic record store. And why the Zaremba has are working hard to keep it alive. So let's drop the needle and listen to 15 minutes on the beat goes on records and more with Joe Zaremba and Jesse Gabriel on 15 minutes with fuzz.

Fuzz Martin 1:25

Joe Zaremba and Jessie Averill. Thanks for joining me today. It's been an exciting few weeks for both you guys. Congratulations on opening the beat goes on record some more.

Joe Zaremba 1:34

Thank you very much exciting.

Fuzz Martin 1:35

I have. I have a little backstory for both you. I'll start with Jesse. We both worked together for a number of years while you were working on WBKV at the Shopping Show.

Jesse Averill 1:44

That's correct.

Fuzz Martin 1:45

In West Bend, good to see you.

Jesse Averill 1:46

You still as well.

Fuzz Martin 1:47

Still doing any of that.

Jesse Averill 1:48


Fuzz Martin 1:49

So you're not there. I'm not there. We're not there. But we're here together right now.

Joe Zaremba 1:52

And I was never there

Fuzz Martin 1:53

And you were never there. But you're here right now show us around. But you sent me a Facebook message. A couple of weeks ago, I was at Disney with my family. The message had a new story about the Exclusive Company in West Bend, being bought out by some local folks. I skim the story and messaged you and said yeah, that'd be a great idea for the show. And you said for the show, and I I didn't realize at the time, you were the person in the news story that purchased the Exclusive Company, which is now the beat goes on records and more. Congratulations.

Joe Zaremba 2:25

Thank you. That was pretty funny.

Fuzz Martin 2:27

number of years, right? Hired:

Jesse Averill 2:40

No, 36 years, six years? Well, I left is left for four years and four days. So running out totally of 32 years total.

Fuzz Martin 2:48

Wow. Okay, well, what have been some of your favorite memories over the years that the Exclusive Company,

Jesse Averill 2:53

There's many of them. business wise, you know, every time we do very, very well, that's always a huge plus. But you know, throughout the years, and I've run almost all the Exclusive Company stores, okay. In West Bend and south of here. I mean, we've had in stores with bands like Slayer and Smashing Pumpkins. And, you know, there's, those are kind of the cool big things when you can get, you know, three 400 people together, keep them organized in line, and happy to meet the band. So yeah, those are coming out of the in stores are, are big. And then of course, throughout the years of going to a bazillion and seven concerts.

Fuzz Martin 3:30

What got you to first start at the Exclusive Company,

Jesse Averill 3:32

t that would be cool. Then in:

Fuzz Martin 4:12

Gotcha. Those four years that you left wanting to go back to the service or they

Jesse Averill 4:16

No, they wouldn't have me. It was I was kind of burnt out on retail. And I tried to do something different and unfortunately, I sucked miserably at everything I did. So I am destined to run a record store.

Fuzz Martin 4:31

Alright, very good. Very good. Joe, how did you become involved with the Exclusive Company and this whole thing that we have going on right now?

Joe Zaremba 4:41

Well, yeah, I mean, involved is it kind of an interesting definition? I used to come here in the 80s when Dennis and Jesse we're working here, just shopping and just like oh my god because I used to shop I lived in Illinois at the time. And we and I but I went to college at St Norbert St. Norbert so found Exclusive in West Bend you And that's how I first got involved and got sucked right in. Because every time I came up here, I'd go shopping there. Then of course, I moved here about 23 years ago and stayed there been a pretty decent customer, I think.

Jesse Averill 5:12

Joe... Joe was a good customer is a good customer. He's a better customer now that he had he owns the place. But yeah, it spends a lot of money records stored is always held in the April and Joe would pay the light bill for April.

Fuzz Martin 5:29

Very good. So you're a big record guy?

Joe Zaremba 5:30

Yes. Huge collection, I still have the ones from when I was a kid. My first albums were really like the two Beatles Greatest Hits the Blue in the Red (sure), very famous records. And from there, it just blew up and continue my collection continued moving those albums around, move after move after move. Anyway, the real question is, how did I get involved here? Of course, I got got the news, then that this was going to be happening to all the exclusive stores. And I was very emotionally impacted by it. And so I gave Jesse my number and I said, give it to the powers that be and see if see what happens and called me the next day. Oh, really. And I was talking to Mr. G's nephew, who's kind of running the business now. And he and I just hit it off clicked on philosophy and vision and all those things. And next thing, you know, we're like, Let's shake on it. And we made it official. Earlier this week.

Fuzz Martin 6:19

Yeah. So it's was recently in the news that after 66 years, the exclusive companies closing all their stores, or any of the other stores that we know of getting bought out in this kind of fashion yet. No, no. Okay, so this is the one so you're, you're gonna save the legacy here, Joe,

Joe Zaremba 6:34

that was a big part of it. You know, West Bend was where the first one kick started. And so we want to keep it going. It belongs in downtown West Bend. It's a big part of, you know, the history there, as well as just the vibrancy. And we're a music loving community and we just want to keep it going. And

Fuzz Martin 6:49

if it's been open for 66 years, has it been that location for 66?

Jesse Averill 6:53

It's been in downtown West Bend the whole time, but this is the fifth location.

Fuzz Martin 6:57

Oh, really? Okay. I assume it takes a lot to move all that merchandise from one to the

Jesse Averill 7:02

Yeah, the records are heavy. Very, very heavy.

Joe Zaremba 7:06

You know, Jim, Jim's, Mr. G's, brother. I got on the phone with him during this process. And he said, Hey, little bit of history. Nobody, hardly anybody knows this. But when we first opened we were called Jim's record mark. Really? Yeah. Oh, yeah. One of the finest sign like that. Yes.

Jesse Averill 7:22

That might have been when he was selling out of his trunk. He opened up the trunk and said Jim's recommended the trunk.

Fuzz Martin 7:29

Could be they had they always had the famous sayings. Say it with me the Exclusive Company and come up with something for the beat goes on?

Joe Zaremba 7:36

Well, I'm sure we will.

Jesse Averill 7:38

We're working on "Beat it with me."

Joe Zaremba 7:42

I'm not sure about that one. But we are working on our logo and some of our marketing. And, of course, we intend to do a lot of new things along with just keeping the beautiful business that it's been rocking and rolling the way it's been.

Fuzz Martin 7:54

Sure. So is it you and your wife then on it is yes. Okay. And then yes. What are your plans for the beat goes on as as you move forward?

Joe Zaremba 8:02

Well, I, you know, very involved in the community, I really think there's a lot of opportunity with all the music events and things like that, and that we could certainly partner with things like Ragner Rocks, and Homegrown and downtown Music on Main, of course, I mean, that's where we are. And again, I'm involved with places like Lac Lawrawn and the Historical Society. So I think we could pull some a lot of different things together and just make events. You know, we're right now we're actually partnering with the band to do the whiskey and vinyl things on Wednesdays, which is more of a winter event, we'll probably go through April and then pick up again and fall. Okay. But that's just another example of the type of things that we like to try to do.

Fuzz Martin 8:36

Sure, uh, tell listeners about that of those events. In particular, what happens at the whisky and vinyl events? I assume I can I can make some assumptions based on the title. But

Joe Zaremba 8:45

yep, initially, the idea is that you go over to the Exclusive and you buy yourself a new album, and then come on over the band and listen to it. Do they played over the big Yep, through the big system. And of course, they got a turntable from the store. Sure. And I've gone to quite a few of them. But there's some people have gone to every single one. They go every every once they go buy an album, walk across the street, crank up the volume in their system, and it's it's pretty fun. And they also set up a lot of retro video games to okay to bring. So it's a very family oriented, fun thing.

Fuzz Martin 9:14

I saw your posts from last week on your Facebook page. Now your Facebook page has grown tremendously. There's a lot of support for this, isn't

Joe Zaremba 9:20

there? Yes, yes. The positivity has just been amazing. It's really fun for me just personally to have everybody say, oh my god, I can't think of a better guy than anybody that's known me for so many years. It's like, Oh, my God, this. Great, perfect. So I just feel like a lot of I feel very humbled, but I also feel a lot of responsibility. Hopefully that answers

Fuzz Martin 9:39

Yeah, no. And so at the time that we're recording this, you're at about 800 followers after just a week after you introduced this. And this episode is going to come out a week after we've recorded it. So it's probably hopefully gonna be even higher than especially with all the news coming out about the Exclusive Company. Yep. So are you planning on keeping your staff hired?

Joe Zaremba 9:58

Absolutely. We couldn't do it without Um, we were, that was part of the package, you know, we have to have them they've made that place a very successful place. When I was even talking to the family, the exclusive group, we're like, take your sign down, I'll put my sign up and leave everything the same. Oh, great. We want and especially with the people, because they're fantastic.

Fuzz Martin:

Excellent. So when I was a kid, my first trip to the Exclusive Company was to buy a CD that my parents told me, I couldn't get my first CD. And I bought Garth Brooks no fences from the Brookfield store. There was like 91 or 92, I think. And then I spent through the rest of high school all my money on country music CDs, which is how we met Jesse because of that, but tell me, what are people buying these days, obviously, like, the music scene has changed a bit. And it's kind of gone through some kind of revivals, I guess, in certain ways for the physical music, right?

Jesse Averill:

One word, Fuzz. One word only? Vinyl. Yep. It's all about vinyl records. Right now. There's probably about 12 to 15 times the demand for vinyl as far as availability. Really, they just did well, there. There used to be five places in the world that made records. About a month or a month and a half ago, the one in California burned down. Oh, really. So there's only four places in the world that make records. Last October, they ran out 500,000. Adele, wow. So that pushed everything way back. The demand is there, the availability is not looking at things at a global scale. Vinyl is a petroleum based product. Okay, we already know the the gas price and petroleum product there as well. Another thing I didn't know, I just read an article the other day, Nicole the iron ore nickel. Yeah, we get the majority of that from Russia. A nickel has been halted on the trading post two times now. Don't ask me why it happened. But nickel is essential in the making of new records. We've seen that plate that comes down and presses show if you don't have nickel, you can't make new records. Okay, so we're doing fantastic. I mean, new records are coming in every single day. Sure. It's just the the explosion that we're having could be volcanic in size, instead of just you know, being the small little geyser that it is now,

Fuzz Martin:

I assume, Joe that most of your collection is vinyl is that?

Joe Zaremba:

Well, I went through the series I had with all records and then CDs came out. So I started replacing all my records with CDs. And then now there's 180 Gram 200 Gram vinyl and colored vinyl colored vinyl sounds like so I'm replacing my CDs with new vinyl. Okay, so I've gone through the cycle. But let's face it. The other part about vinyl is that it's just a different experience. Yeah, it's just fun to open up and feel and the music. If you feel the music more than just even

Fuzz Martin:

like being able to flip through somebody's collection and see what they have.

Jesse Averill:

Yep, going back to you know why. There's there's a couple of different reasons, CDs and DVDs. That's a digital medium. And that can be streamed. A vinyl is analog, as soon as you digitize it to stream it, you'll lose that analog quality. So that's huge. And another thing is the whole pandemic, people were forced to shut down, stay home. You know, after you've watched all the drivel that there is to watch on TV. Well, then you go rock your records. And all of a sudden, wham, wham, wham. We're selling records like they were just invented. Sure. So that's huge.

Fuzz Martin:

Yeah, well, that's, I mean, great for you guys. And it's, it's really cool that people have really embraced that kind of analog piece. Because we I have my phone sitting next to me, this is going to be streaming on, you know, Apple podcasts and Spotify. And I won't press it into a record because I don't have the money for it. Really haven't nickel, but it's super interesting. And it's it's great that you're able to keep this open enrolling. And are you gonna update your LinkedIn now to say,

Jesse Averill:

you know, I don't even know what that LinkedIn thing is. I haven't had it since 2015. Everyone's well, you're being noticed on LinkedIn as I didn't do anything to get noticed. So no, that won't be updated. But I just invite everybody who was in the sound of my voice to come and visit the beat goes on records and more it's going to be it's going to be great. It's even going to be better than it used to be. Because now I believe instead of being a 11 store chain at one time now down to seven, we're going to be a one single store. And I believe with Joe's vision, it's going to be more community orientated than it has in the past.

Fuzz Martin:

I assume, like always at the Exclusive Company days. If somebody's looking for something, they can come to you and you can help them find it

Jesse Averill:

Without question GLAD to be of service. If it's not in store and it's available. We'll get it for him.

Fuzz Martin:

All right. Very good. Joe, Congratulations again. Thank you for the community. Thanks, you Generation X. Thanks, you. And good luck on your new adventures and reminder to listeners to shop local and to listen to records. Jessie Good seeing you again.

Jesse Averill:

You as well, Fuzz.

Fuzz Martin:

Alright. Thank you very much.

Joe Zaremba:

Thank you very much appreciate the time

Fuzz Martin:

So many memories. So, so many memories of the Exclusive Company. It's great that Joe and Mary Zaremba chose to buy the West Bend store and keep it alive. Thank you again to Joe and also to Jesse Averill for joining me on this week's episode of 15 minutes with us. If you ever have an idea for the show, drop me a line fuzz.cc slash guest that's fuzz.cc/guest you episodes drop every Monday at midnight. You can also find out more about the show on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. The symbol is @FifteenwithFuzz. And also you can visit fifteenwithfuzz.com shows available on Spotify, Apple podcasts pretty much anywhere you can think of or worldwide baby. And we're going to talk to you again next week right here on 15 minutes with Fuzz.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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About the Podcast

Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz
Showcasing the positive things happening in Washington County, Wisconsin.
Fifteen Minutes with Fuzz is sheds light on all the great things going on in and around Washington County, Wisconsin. The host, Fuzz Martin, is a local business owner (EPIC Creative) and a former radio personality (92.5 WBWI - now Buzz Country). New episodes launch on Tuesday mornings. https://fifteenwithfuzz.com

Whether you're in West Bend, Kewaskum, Slinger, Hartford, Germantown, Richfield, Jackson, or anywhere else in the area, 15 Minutes with Fuzz serves the community with fun and positive people, places, events, and attractions.

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Fuzz Martin

Fuzz Martin is a partner and Chief Strategy Officer at EPIC Creative in West Bend, Wis.