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  • Staff photo by DON HIMSEL

    Daddy's Junky Music on Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua, along with three other New Hampshire locations, abruptly closed Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011.
  • Staff photo by DON HIMSEL

    Daddy's Junky Music on Daniel Webster Highway in Nashua, along with three other New Hampshire locations, abruptly closed Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2011.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011

6. 12 Daddy’s Junky Music stores close abruptly

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Telegraph will run the 10 biggest local stories of 2011 in the paper during the next several days.

It’s been a rough year in retail.

The industry lost about 2,000 jobs in 2011. Nashua’s Building 19 called it quits in August after 16 years. Lowe’s Home Improvement closed its Manchester location and nine other stores in October. Friendly’s declared corporate bankruptcy before Halloween.

But no closing resonated with customers more than that of Daddy’s Junky Music, which abruptly closed its 12 New England locations – including four in New Hampshire – and ended 39 years of business Oct. 26.

Founder Fred Bramante said it was a heart-breaking day. He started the company from his parents’ basement in Salem in 1966, and it grew to become the 14th-largest music retailer in the United States.

Daddy’s Junky Music had four locations in New Hampshire, including one in Nashua on Daniel Webster Highway South, as well as stores in Manchester, Salem and Portsmouth.

A total of 52 full-time and 14 part-time employees lost their jobs in New Hampshire, including dozens of others at eight stores in Massachusetts, Vermont and Connecticut.

The reaction to the stores’ closing was mixed. Many people were sad to see the store go, but others felt jaded by the immediate closing, which raised questions about unreturned customer repairs, unspent gift cards and layaway contracts.

“They left people high and dry,” said Rick Rozek, 46, of Portsmouth, on Oct. 27. “There wasn’t even an e-mail blast, no liquidation sale, nothing. They just closed the doors. What a terrible way to go out.”

The company’s major financier, GE Capital, claimed the stores’ massive inventory of 48,000 items after Daddy’s failed to make payments on its negotiated agreement.

Senior Assistant Attorney General James Boffetti, head of the state’s Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau, said he has received a “steady flow” of written complaints – somewhere from 25 to 50 – from customers since the music store’s closing.

Bramante said the closing didn’t have to happen and still feels heartbroken about it, but he’s working through the process of filing for bankruptcy and answering customer questions through the company’s Facebook page. Without any employees, only Bramante and his family have been able to respond.

The saga continues into 2012, as Daddy’s Junky Music will have to answer in bankruptcy court and GE Capital will figure out how to deal with layaways.

Once Daddy’s Junky Music files for bankruptcy, customers with unspent gift certificates can fill out a form to be listed as a creditor. Boffetti said to contact his office, the Consumer Protection and Antritrust Bureau, at DOJ-CPB@doj.nh.gov with any questions.

More information is also available online, at www.gecdf.com/DaddysFAQ. Customers can contact GE Capital with questions at gecacontactus@ge.com. Customers also can look for updates on Daddy’s Junky Music’s Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/DaddysJunkyMusic.

Cameron Kittle can be reached at 594-6523 or ckittle@nashuatelegraph.com.