Sam Goody

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Sam Goody
Founded1951; 72 years ago (1951)
FounderSam "Goody" Gutowitz
HeadquartersMinneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
Number of locations
2 (2022)[1]
ProductsVHS Tapes, DVDs, CDs, Cassettes, Movies, Video Games, Posters, Comics, Merchandise, Books

Sam Goody was a music and entertainment retailer in the United States and United Kingdom, operated by The Musicland Group, Inc. It was purchased by Best Buy in 2000, sold to Sun Capital Partners in 2003, and filed for bankruptcy in 2006, closing most of its stores. The remaining stores were purchased by Trans World Entertainment, which also runs FYE, Saturday Matinee, and Suncoast Motion Picture Company.

Sam Goody specialized in music, video, and video game sales. Between 2007 and 2008, Trans World converted most of the stores into FYE. As of August 2022, there were only two Sam Goody stores left within the United States—in the Ohio Valley Mall in St. Clairsville, Ohio, and the Rogue Valley Mall in Medford, Oregon.[1]


Sam "Goody" Gutowitz (1904-1991) of New York City opened a small record store on New York's 9th Avenue shortly after the advent of vinyl long-playing records in the late 1940s. Although he did some retail business from his main store on 49th Street, most of his volume was in mail-order sales at discount prices, of which he was a pioneer.[2] He became something of a folk hero among penniless college students as the first successful large-scale LP discounter.[3][4][5]

Later, the Sam Goody name was applied to a chain of record stores established in 1951 by Gutowitz. In 1959, a group of creditors took over the company to collect $2.4 million in debts.[2]

Sam Goody logo (c. 1950s-1980s)

In 1978, the company was acquired by the American Can Company (later renamed Primerica), the owners of Minneapolis-based Musicland,[6] Goody's rival.[7] Sam Goody continued to grow through both acquisitions and organic growth, including the launch of its website. The stores averaged 4,600 square feet (430 m2) but varied in size from 1000 to 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2).[8] The Musicland Group was once the largest music retailer in the country, operating at its peak more than 1300 stores, over 800 of them Sam Goodys, and earning over $2 billion in annual revenue.

In 1986, Sam Goody's corporate parent Musicland purchased the then just recently purchased 34-store Southern California-based Licorice Pizza chain and 26 other record stores for $13 million from Record Bar.[9] The Licorice Pizza stores were rebranded Sam Goody the following year.[10]

Acquisition and demise[edit]

Best Buy attempted to diversify its retail holdings by purchasing Musicland in 2001, only to sell it two years later.[11] Best Buy's attempt to transform Musicland into a youth-oriented small-format technology hub failed after two years of ownership. Losses were exacerbated by a decline in physical CD sales in line with the general decline in CD sales, and by competition from big box retailers. Just weeks before Best Buy was prepared to liquidate the entire chain of stores (and after closing several hundred), they found a buyer in Sun Capital Partners, a private equity firm in Boca Raton, Florida, which acquired the chain in a cash-free transaction by acquiring Musicland's liabilities.

In 2002, Best Buy decided to consolidate some of the acquired stores by converting On Cue stores to the Sam Goody brand.[12]

Under Sun Capital, the company closed more stores and tried to get the business back to basics, but ultimately the challenges of competition and lackluster music industry releases[citation needed] proved too much and in January 2006, The Musicland Group filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In February 2006, the company announced the closing of 226 Sam Goody and 115 Suncoast Motion Picture Company stores. Following the closings, the Sam Goody chain was left with 191 stores.

In March 2006, Trans World Entertainment, which had been acquiring their competitors for several years, announced the purchase of 400 Sam Goody and Suncoast stores. Trans World kept 345 of the stores open and closed 55. In late 2006, Trans World Entertainment Corp. began changing the names of mall-based Sam Goody stores to f.y.e., the company's signature retail store. Trans World retained the Suncoast Motion Picture Co. name on about 170 stores.[13]

After a dismal fourth quarter 2006 and a lackluster year in general, Transworld admitted that it failed to anticipate some of the challenges that remained associated with the remaining Musicland stores that it acquired, especially the "Sam Goody Rural" concept located in small communities. As a result, they announced more store closings, many of which were likely to be former Musicland stores.

The Sam Goody logo on the floor in front of a vacant store front, Moorestown Mall, July 2014

Trans World has announced their intention to focus on the f.y.e. brand and convert all Sam Goody stores to f.y.e stores in the future. By February 2009, Trans World had removed the Sam Goody brand from its corporate website.[14] They kept a large store in San Diego branded Sam Goody due to the cost of changing the signs until late 2012.[15]

By late 2015, Transworld had a fully operational Sam Goody in the newly renovated Centre of Tallahassee in Tallahassee, Florida.[16] The last recorded instance of this store was in an Internet Archive snapshot of the Centre of Tallahassee website from April 4, 2016,[17] only to disappear by April 30.[18]

In February 2020, Transworld sold Sam Goody's parent FYE to Sunrise Records for approximately $11 million.[19]

United Kingdom[edit]

In 1990, Sam Goody entered the UK market[20] and established a presence in a number of English towns, such as Milton Keynes, Weston-super-Mare and Stockport, with a "deep catalogue" retail format that included a large amount of "recurrent" music albums and videos. However, whereas this format might have been successful in the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s, in the United Kingdom it came under pressure from a range of price led and established retailers. In 1999, Sam Goody had exited from UK marketplace, selling its stores off to rival retailers.[20][21] At the chain's height, there were 22 stores and only 14 stores remained when the company exited the UK market.[20]

Photo gallery[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Find an FYE Store Near You". FYE. Archived from the original on November 29, 2020. Retrieved November 30, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Hazards of Disk Discount Biz; Bigtime Sam Goody Operation Taken Over By Creditor Group". Variety. February 25, 1959. p. 45. Retrieved July 4, 2019 – via
  3. ^ Ed, Easy (December 15, 2011). "The Story of Sam Gutowitz". No Depression.
  4. ^ Barmash, Isadore (June 13, 1988). "At 85, Sam Goody Longs For a New Business". New York Times. p. D2. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  5. ^ Kleinfield, N.R. (February 29, 1980). "The Origins of Sam Goody Inc.: Capitalized on the LP Record 29 Stores in Chain". New York Times. p. B4. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  6. ^ Barmash, Isadore (December 14, 1977). "American Can Plans To Buy Sam Goody". New York Times. pp. D1, D7. Alternate Link via ProQuest.
  7. ^ Schuster, Mike (June 19, 2009). "Mall Brands: Sam Goody". Minyanville.
  8. ^ "2002 snapshot of Musicland website archived at". Sam Goody. Archived from the original on December 9, 2002.
  9. ^ Gellene, Denise (April 23, 1986). "Licorice Pizza Chain Will Be Sold to American Can Unit". Los Angeles Times.
  10. ^ Goldstein, Patrick (March 29, 1987). "Pop Eye". Los Angeles Times. And a fond farewell to Licorice Pizza, the popular Southland music and video stores which will undergo a name change at the end of the month as part of a corporate consolidation by new parent company, Musicland Group, Minneapolis. The chain has renamed its 35 area Licorice Pizza stores, which will now be called Sam Goody Music & Video.
  11. ^ "Best Buy sells Musicland". Milwaukee Business Journal. June 16, 2003.
  12. ^ Tellijohn, Andrew (May 12, 2002). "On Cue brand will become Sam Goody". Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal.
  13. ^ "Trans World set to buy struggling Musicland". Business Review. February 21, 2006.
  14. ^ "February 9, 2009 Internet Archive snapshot of website". Archived from the original on February 9, 2009.
  15. ^ Mannes, Tanya (September 12, 2012). "Sam Goody store to close (the last one!): Most of the chain's stores were converted to F.Y.E. brand". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  16. ^ Waters, TaMaryn (March 6, 2015). "Tallahassee Mall: Longtime customers help mall businesses survive". Tallahassee Democrat. Retrieved December 24, 2015.
  17. ^ "Shopping & Dining". Centre of Tallahassee. Archived from the original on April 4, 2016.
  18. ^ "Shopping & Dining". Centre of Tallahassee. Archived from the original on April 30, 2016.
  19. ^ Christman, Ed (February 20, 2020). "Sunrise Records Completes FYE Acquisition From Trans World Entertainment". Billboard.
  20. ^ a b c Ferguson, Tom & Christman, Ed (February 13, 1999). "Musicland Pulls Out Of U.K." Billboard. Vol. 111, no. 7. pp. 12, 123. ISSN 0006-2510 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ Ferguson, Tom (January 9, 2010). "Atlantic Crossing". Billboard. Vol. 122, no. 1. p. 24. ISSN 0006-2510 – via Google Books.

External links[edit]