Last waltz for Finders Records in BG


The record store business is fun and the dedicated employees at Finders Records are reluctant to move on, but owner Greg Halamay is rolling things back another step in an effort to sell the downtown business.

The store isn’t closing, but on May 22 the schedule is getting reduced to opening only on Saturdays, from noon-6 p.m.

“That’s the wonderful thing about my staff, they aren’t working for paycheck. They are working because they enjoy the business,” Halamay said. “They were working for the thrill of working here at Finders. Everybody was having fun. As was my entire 52 years career. Obviously we all work for a paycheck, but they work for the fun of being in the music business, around music.”

With brick and mortar sales back open now for two years, since the pandemic shutdown, Finders Records is humming along nicely again, but it’s time for selling the business and Halamay’s retirement.

It’s a tough change for owner Halamay, who has been running his store for 52 years, since 1971. He still puts in his regular weekly orders on Thursdays.

“I want to keep my store fresh,” Halamay said. “I also wanted to make sure my employees were landing on their feet.”

Jessie Walton, the full-time store manager, will keep working on Saturdays, like most of the other employees. However, she is going to be using her Bowling Green State University degree in graphic design at an advertising firm in Toledo. She starts at the end of this month.

“She’s the reason,” Halamay said, only half jokingly, about the reason he’s kept going for the two years after the long pandemic break. “I was always very open with Jessie. Every few weeks I’d ask her if she had anything brewing, and then she’d ask if I had anything brewing. Yeah, I’d say I still want to retire, but I don’t want to give the boot to you, because you’ve been so good to me.”

He said that the staff work as a seamless team.

“Everybody is taken care of,” Walton said. “Everybody is either furthering their education … and a lot are doing summer internships. So it’s nice that everybody’s accounted for and taken care of. We wanted the best for all our employees.”

Walton said that Halamay has written a lot of reference letters.

“The employees love Greg. We had three generations of employees come in the store last Saturday, and they all said that this is the best job they ever had, and some have done very well in life, but this job was the most fun,” Walton said.

Working with Halamay and Walton are five part-timers, which is about half what he had prior to the pandemic.

“That’s worked well for him, because he is trying to retire,” Walton said. “He would be here every single day. A lot of people didn’t realize that the owner’s there working. He was there seven days a week, and you know, he loved it.”

Walton knows the job has been special, and hopes the right person will buy the business.

She worked at the Music Library and Bill Schurk Sound Archives for the entire four years she was at BGSU. It was good training for work at Finders, and part of the reason she was hired.

Asked what her favorite part of the job is, she laughed, and said, “Everything. Being in a managerial role, I really love interacting with the employees, but I absolutely love interacting with the customers too.”

Then there’s the music.

“And interacting with so much music every day, I’ve been exposed to so much more that I hadn’t listened to, or hadn’t even considered, until working here. Or we get promo CDs, and I will listen to a band I’d never heard before, and I end up really, really liking them. That happens a lot,” Walton said.

Halamay has had a couple dozen very serious inquiries into buying the business, but with running the business at the same time as trying to sell it, he may not have given the most complete sales pitch.

“The common denominator is I’ve had many people compliment me for my 52 years,” Halamay said. “I’m the first one to say don’t compliment me yet, because I haven’t reached retirement. I’ve got a lot to accomplish to reach that. I have to take intentional steps to achieve my end goal.”

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