The Wiz (store)
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|The 1998-2003 Wiz logo.|
2004 (online retailer owned by P.C. Richard)
|Defunct||2003 (retail stores only)|
|Headquarters||Carteret, New Jersey|
|Products||Computers, televisions, VCRs, and DVD players|
|Parent||Cablevision (electronics chain)
P.C. Richard & Son (online retailer)
The chain was founded by four brothers, Douglas, Lawrence, Marvin, and Stephan Jemal, in New York City in 1977. Later, it officially changed its name to its well-known advertising slogan, "Nobody Beats The Wiz". During the early-to-mid 1990s "Nobody Beats The Wiz" was a major sponsor for all local NY sports franchises, including the Yankees, Knicks, Mets, New Jersey Nets, Rangers, New Jersey Devils and Islanders, and had a significant television advertising presence during local sports events. It also sponsored teams outside the NY area such as the Flyers and Canadiens.
In 1998, after having expanded significantly, the chain filed for bankruptcy and was purchased by Cablevision for $80 million. Cablevision eventually dropped the "Nobody Beats the Wiz" slogan. At its peak, the firm's revenues were $1.4 billion, with 2000 employees, operating 94 stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, and Massachusetts. It also operated music-only stores in Maryland and the Washington, D.C. area.
The chain closed permanently in 2003. A Cablevision press release from February 16, 2003 stated: "Continuing to operate the stores is no longer a viable option for Cablevision as business conditions at the retailer eroded due to a weakened retail economy and other factors." Once the chain closed, one of its founders, Marvin Jemal, opened a new electronics chain, The Zone, in a number of former Wiz locations. The new chain, which heavily mentioned that it was from the founder of The Wiz, went out of business less than two years later.
In popular culture
In the Seinfeld episode "The Junk Mail", Elaine begins dating Jack (Toby Huss), a man with whom she has a "love at first sight" encounter. However, while viewing a VHS tape Jerry discovers an old commercial that features Jack as "The Wiz," the ludicrous mascot for the electronics store, apparently explaining the mysterious aura of glamour Elaine experienced when meeting him in person. After seeing the tape, Elaine desperately attempts to reunite with her previous boyfriend, David Puddy, but she is rejected and she decides to take back Jack. She tells Jack her decision and he reveals that the electronics chain is bringing him back as their spokesman. Jack then dons his character's trademark crown and begins to march back and forth, ludicrous as ever, proclaiming, "I'm the Wiz! I'm the Wiz! I'm the Wiz and nobody beats me!"
In the 2013 film The Wolf of Wall Street, Leonardo DiCaprio's character, Jordan Belfort, brushes aside his wife's suggestion to answer a classified ad in a local newspaper looking for salespeople to work at The Wiz.
The jingle is interpolated in the chorus of Biz Markie's hit, "Nobody Beats the Biz". Biz substitutes "the Biz" for "the Wiz". The Wiz also sued Biz Markie for it.
In the episode "Veiled Threat" from the show The King of Queens, Doug (in a flashback to his wedding day) mentions wanting a wedding gift of a CD player from The Wiz.
In the season 12 premiere of the show It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, an electrical storm hits Dee's VCR while watching the film The Wiz. The gang passes out, and when they wake up, they appear to have bodies that look like black people to other people outside the gang and their own reflections. One of their suggestions to switch back to their old bodies is to go to the store The Wiz to fix Dee's VCR since they were watching the film The Wiz in the first place.