UFO Museum Gift Shop and Records Aims to Fill the Void of Exclusive Society

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GREEN BAY – When Pierre Jacque says he’s going to have “all kinds of weird stuff” in his new record store, he’s not just talking about weird stuff like the full-size R2-D2 and an accessory “ALF” he’s got with lives at home.

He’s talking about Mr. T’s coloring books, “Jurassic Park” buttons the size of a bagel, a “Full House” board game, and a black trash bag full of those little rubber alligators from 1984 that were must-haves. at the fairs of the time.

“People are like, ‘Oh my God, I got that alligator!’ I’m like, ‘I have hundreds of them! “, He said.

If Jacque sounds like a kid in a candy store talking about a record store, it’s because he’s thrilled his Green Bay UFO Museum and Records gift shop is giving him an outlet for ideas that have been floating around in his head for years.

“I’ve never had an excuse to throw a Van Halen-tine Day party, but I do now,” he said.

Since signing the lease in mid-June, he has been busy renovating the lower level of 2248 University Ave. which local musicians Jimmy Crimmins and Mark Peterson occupied for 30 years as co-owners of The Guitar Cellar. Jacque’s new venture, slated for a grand opening on September 28, will maintain the musical vibe in a space many people remember taking guitar lessons as kids.

“You can’t make a ton of great music without guitars, so that was a pretty big thing in Green Bay,” he said of The Guitar Cellar connection. “It comes a little closer to it spiritually.”

AFTER: Former employees of The Exclusive Company reflect on what made the record store so special

AFTER: Packers announce Train for free Kickoff Weekend concert outside Lambeau Field

Owner Jacque Pierre had fun melting records on the wall of the Green Bay UFO Museum gift shop and records.  Most are easy-listening or damaged records, but he said he takes personal pleasure in pointing the heat gun at an Eric Clapton album.

Tom Smith, The Exclusive Company relationships

Jacque hopes UFO will also help fill the void left by the closure last month of The Exclusive Company after nearly 37 years. Growing up in the west of the city, Jacque spent his share of time at the Dousman Street record store which became an institution in the local music scene, thanks in large part to manager Tom Smith, who had worked there since 1988.

Jacque has known Smith since she was a teenager and the two have worked together at the store for the past five years. Smith was front and center for Jacque when news broke in April that all The Exclusive Company locations in the state were closing.

“It was kind of like, ‘Man, what’s Tom going to do?’ I don’t want him to have to work outside of a record store, he’s been doing it for 35 years, and so the idea of ​​him not having to sell records was the thing that got to me. pushed to the limit,” Jacque said. “You know what? I should just do this.

A graduate of Académie Notre-Dame in 2005, Jacque has been in retail for his entire working life. He was a chef before the pandemic hit. UFO is his first commercial venture as an owner.

He offered Smith a job, a raise, and a schedule much closer to 40 hours a week. With Smith aboard UFO, the other priority was to carefully preserve the more than three decades of Green Bay rock ‘n’ roll history that had accumulated on the walls of The Exclusive Company, where the stern -room was covered with artist posters and band flyers. .

“I spent probably 40 hours pulling staples and cutting X-Acto around the edges of things, but it was totally worth it,” Jacque said. “It was one of the things I couldn’t even dream of leaving in that store.”

Some of those memorabilia will be on display at UFO, along with information and thoughts from Smith.

“There were layers and layers, so there will be things that people haven’t seen in years,” Jacque said.

It also has the three neon signs hanging in The Exclusive Company. They will need some maintenance to shine again, but he hopes to have one hanging in the new store eventually.

The space that will house the Green Bay UFO Museum gift shop and archives on University Avenue is best known as the former home of The Guitar Cellar.

Vinyl records, VHS movie rentals, some CDs

Like The Exclusive Company, UFO will offer buyers a wide selection of new and used vinyl. Although it will carry CDs and tapes, as a smaller operation it will not be able to have the inventory that the Exclusive did.

“The most important thing is that I had a couple thousand extra CDs at home. I don’t have a couple thousand extra CDs at home,” Jacque said.

Instead, the focus will be on quality and meeting people’s specific interests, including ordering builds on demand from a customer.

Exclusive Company shoppers will recognize some of the store’s old album racks and CD bins, which will be mounted on casters so they can be moved around to make the space versatile. Jacque tried to reuse as much as he could to save money on wood costs and give the store a vintage feel.

A previous tenant had already removed the old drop ceiling to expose the ductwork and beams. Jacques painted. Additional lighting and a sound system are yet to come.

The wall running below the windows at street level has been lined with melted albums. Jacque burned two heat guns and a few boxes of easy-to-listen and damaged records to create the effect dripping with music. He confesses that he also slipped a title or two just for the sake of destroying it. (Sorry, Eric Clapton.)

UFO shares the building with two other businesses, The Blue Gem Tattooing and The Dispensary. Jacque still pinches on the robustness of the air conditioning system, which was not exactly the case at The Exclusive Company.

“We had a few little storefronts, and if we had any trouble with them, it was a sweaty day to sell records,” he said.

He’s already scouted a spot in the entryway to hang flyers for live concerts and other events in the area. A small alcove will be a listening room with a chair and turntable for patrons to listen to an album before buying or listening to a library of local band releases they would like to create.

A back room with a large window overlooking the main sales area will become a VHS rental store. Jacque knows that few people still have a dusty VCR to play VHS tapes, but he says it’s more about recreating the nostalgic experience of enjoying box art while choosing a movie. He hopes to have a few VCRs that customers can rent. If nothing else, maybe all that browsing will inspire people to go home and find a way to stream a title that caught their eye.

The tapes are all from his own collection, and he will have special seasonal sections for Halloween and Christmas.

There's no shortage of nostalgia in the display cases and on the shelves of the Green Bay UFO Museum's gift shop and archives.

Rubber Scorpions, California Raisins, Buttons

He has ideas for planned events to help build community, including occasional film screenings and smaller band concerts that might not otherwise take place or can offer an alternative for all ages. at bar shows.

“I can’t overstate how important The Exclusive Company is to me personally and my development as a youngster trying to be cool and also fair to the community as a whole,” Jacque said. “So many of the friends and people I need now are people I’ve met through the record store. I just wanted to make sure all my friends still have a place they can congregate.

He realizes that not everyone can spend $20 on vinyl every time they walk in, so that’s where the gift shop and museum elements come in. Customers can always splurge. soak up the atmosphere of the store, learn something about the history of music in the city, and go home with a $3 purchase.

It will sell all sorts of cheap novelties, including buttons, California Raisins figurines, tiny plastic guys, and eyeglasses and mustache disguises. It’s just to start.

“Things you’ve never seen before and probably won’t see anywhere else,” Jacque said.

It’s what he calls “new old stock,” largely leftovers from bowling alleys, arcades and vending machines. In this case, UFO can also mean “unusually found objects,” he said, but for the record, there was also a life-size alien, albeit in two halves, at the scene at the time of the incident. ‘maintenance.

“I kind of believe that a little gem can transform your whole day. Or not even yours, but someone else’s. If someone’s having a bad day, “Oh, I’m sorry, man, that sucks, whatever.” It only goes so far,” Jacque said. “But like, ‘Oh man, that’s a bummer. Here, get a rubber scorpion. Sometimes it’s going to drastically alter the trajectory of their day.

It’s inspired by Uncle Fun, the now closed store in Chicago that had walls filled with novelties and toys. A line of in-house designed t-shirts is in the works for UFO’s opening, and Jacque also hopes to eventually introduce a house-brand line of faux poo and whoopee pillows.

“I want everyone to have fun. Relax a bit and sometimes embrace the absurdity of things, because that’s the world we live in now,” Jacque said. wacky. The newspaper: a whole different kind of wacky, less whimsical. It’s a heavy world.”

Contact Kendra Meinert at 920-431-8347 or [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @KendraMeinert.

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