Keeping it Sniderman: these shoppers are still shopping and saving at Sam's. but their money is going to Bobby and Jason. The store changed hands last Friday at 5 p.m.

Photo: Lora Markova

Sons of Sam revive bankrupt store

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By Lora Markova

Scores of savings-mad shoppers waited in long lineups to buy discounted CDs and tapes at Sam the Record Man last Friday. But few were aware of the changes the music store had undergone overnight.

Bobby and Jason Sniderman, sons of the founder of the chain — 81-year-old music magnate Sam Sniderman — signed a contract to become the new owners of the store at 347 Yonge St. late in the afternoon last Thursday.

The store closed Thursday at 5 p.m., followed by a meeting where the Sniderman’s informed the employees about the changes, said employee Andrew Moszynsky, 21.

Unfortunately Sam’s could not afford to keep everyone on staff, said Jason Sniderman, 43, so some people had to be let go. But he said he hopes there were no hard feelings.

The positions that were cut, he said, were the ones the brothers felt were not necessary for the troubled store’s immediate success.

“If all works out, then I want them to come back,” said Jason. “I mean, I was fired yesterday, too, right? Everyone was fired by the receiver. I haven’t even been rehired yet, because I haven’t given myself a letter.”

The fired employees spent the evening at Reilly’s Restaurant, said Moszynsky — who was rehired — and they were joined by their friends and former colleagues while they drowned their sorrows in draught beer.

“There was a lot of bitterness going around,” said Moszynsky. “It’s hard to say towards who or what — just towards life in general.”

“You can’t really lay blame on one person, for the loss of jobs. It’s just a reality of business.”

This was the second time in the past three months that Sam’s employees had been fired and rehired. The first time was an October 30 of last year, when the elder Sniderman filed for bankruptcy.

“What I have to do now,” said Jason Sniderman, “is get the store back to where it was before it went bankrupt. My advertising is going to be centred around letting people know that we’re back.”

He and his brother spent their first day as owners of the store, working on the floor, mingling with the customers. Bobby Sniderman, 53, who also owns the Senator Steakhouse on Victoria Street, knows how to manage his staff and lead them to success, said his brother.

Jason Sniderman said that he has been in the music business for 23 years, and is pleased with the turn of events.

“I’m moving my office to the store,” he said, “so my office is going to be in front of the cash, talking to people, finding out what’s going on. That’s not like a comedown for me, that’s like a bonus for me… because I love music.”

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