CLIFTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — It’s the end of an era for a local record store that specialized in Doo-wop music. Ronnie I’s Clifton Music is shutting down after 40 years of keeping its customers dancing.

Ronnie Italiano opened the doors in 1972. He died four years ago and the changes in music and the economy are forcing his widow to shut down.

“It’s sad. It’s tough but times have changed. The economy has hit us hard. I can no longer keep the store,” owner Sandra Italiano told CBS 2’s Cindy Hsu.

The store will close on March 23. Loyal customers are coming by with flowers, hugs and a lot of heartache.

“I’m very sad. I’m almost in tears now. It’s the end of an era,” said customer John McGill.

“The only way I can describe it, it’s like losing a family member,” said customer Michael Colorundo.

Italiano says although the store has to shut down, she’s hoping the love of Doo-wop stays alive.

“No matter how small or how big a production, it’s very important for this art form,” she said.

Two members of the group “The Solitaires” tell Hsu they’re working on it.

They started in 1953 in Harlem and they’re still performing today. Their biggest hit is the song “Walking Along,” which put a smile on Hsu’s face and, a miracle she calls it, got her to dance.

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Comments (10)
  1. Paul Levinson says:

    I disagree completely with this article – here’s why

  2. Dave H. says:

    I’ve been going to this store almost every Saturday since 1978.
    Walking throught the door of the store, you never knew who might be there. One day I saw Bobby Jay from WCBS-FM and assorted vocal groups.
    Another time, it was Tim Hauser from the Manhattan Transfer.
    Going there was like visiting family.
    Though Ronnie I. is gone and the store is closing,
    as long as people listen to or sing the music, Vocal Group Harmony will never die!!
    Thank you Ronnie, Sandy and Clifton Music for many enjoyable years.

  3. Joey Reinleib says:

    Ronnie I started our group The Tercels recording on a CD which we finished after his unfortunate passing. He, and his wife Sandy are two of the greatest people we ever met. His dedication to the music we all grew up with and love will never be forgotten. In this life of ours we come to realize that hardly anything ever stays the same. My love, respect, and admiration goes out to Ronnie I and Sandy. Joey

  4. Bullett says:

    Ronnie, Do-Wop will never die. I’m one of those holders of 33’s & 45’s from the 50’s. There’s always the internet (Amazon & E-bay) for selling of what you have left of in-stock items. I wish you all the best. Remember; Vinyl is Final.

  5. Dennis Dell says:

    Yes this is a sad day for the music industry, but this music will always be remembered and I vow to help keep it that way. The Era may end but the music lives forever.

  6. Maureen says:

    I never heard of this store but God bless them!
    i love Doo Wop and see it on PBS!

    1. t Shaughnessy says:

      i REMEMBER Ronnie 1’s radio show,I stayed up late listening to it,but paid for it the next day at work.I have a few 45s and cd’s on Ronnie I’S LABELS.
      thanks ronnie for the many years of great music
      tom Florida

  7. Jon Ryder says:

    I;m a record collector and used to work for Ronnie I in that store in the 80;s I made alot of great friends and have many wonderful memories of Ronnie and the Doo wopp scene back then. What a shame the store has to close. However,record collectors and fans of vocal group harmony know that the sound will survive as it has for decades, Somebody should write a book about that store and it’s importance in Doo Wopp music history. RIP Ronnie and RIP 1135 Main Ave.

  8. Rick says:

    It’s a sad day. I made some accapella recordings with Ronnie I when I sang with Subway Serenade. Ronnie put two of our cuts on his Accapella Showdown CD. I have alot of fond memories of those days when UGHA was in it’s prime.

  9. pugphan says:

    We’re getting older and crossing over… to the other side, what a legacy we leave, there will never be another. Then again every 100 years it’s a new stage, nobody stays here long, we told stories, peeps understood our lyrics, and swooned to our tunes, indeed there will never be another. peace y’all!

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