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Lilliput Records hopes to replace Milwaukee's Exclusive Company on Farwell

Exclusive Company
The Exclusive Co.
The Exclusive Company record store on Farwell in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee will soon say goodbye to an institution — the Exclusive Company on Farwell Avenue. The record store has been on Milwaukee’s East Side for more than three decades and will close their doors some time in the next few months. But, all is not lost. The store manager and assistant manager, Brian Kirk and Tanner Musgrove, are hoping to launch a new store in its place called Lilliput Records.

"Opening up a record store is something that I've wanted to do, or at least had in my mind for a little while now, and it seemed like the perfect opportunity because we know how important this space is to ourselves and then also our customers," says Musgrove.

The Exclusive Company is credited as oldest, full-line independent record store in the country. The former owner Jame Giombetti, known as Mr. G, opened the first Exclusive Company in 1956 in West Bend, Wisconsin. That store had a huge impact on Milwaukee Record co-founder Matt Wild.

"It’s hard to overstate for me how much it did kind of inform my early music education. I grew up about a half hour away from the West Bend location and going into the Exclusive, there were so many foundational things that I found there," says Wild.

Mr. G died in November 2021 and his family decided to close the business. Like Lilliput Records in Milwaukee, several other locations are also hoping to replace the Exclusive Company with new, local record stores. The venture won't be cheap, and Kirk and Musgrove have already begun fundraising to help make Lilliput Records a reality. They both believe it's important to continue the legacy of the Exclusive Company, but providing a full-line record store that can cater to many musical tastes.

Kirk says, "It's a meeting place ... and it all has to do with art, communication, community, all of those things I think record stores are an extremely big part of. And so for that to go away, you'd lose a huge, huge part of what makes Milwaukee great."

Joy Powers is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.
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