Author Topic: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?  (Read 171 times)

firedome

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Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« on: January 11, 2020, 03:20:11 PM »
Just picked up a cute little XAM tube FM receiver made by Harman-Kardon for E.J.Korvettes, a long departed NY-based discount chain department store that had stores in many bigger cites in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Back in the mid-'60s growing up in Baltimore it was my favorite place to buy records; they had a huge record department with the best prices anywhere. I recall buying new Nonesuch LP classical records for something like $1.99 or 2.99 and bought some Command records with Enoch Light from there too.

Best of all they had a big Hi-Fi Stereo showroom with products from the big names like Fisher, Sherwood, AR, and their own brand of Harman-Kardon made XAM components, and speakers made by ? lower priced models of which were sort of affordable to a 15 yr old and this particular model was one of those lower priced units as I recall. Many an hour was spent at Korvettes looking and listening. When I saw this little XAM receiver recently  just had to have it for nostalgia's sake if nothing else!  It uses 7408 tubes for output, a juiced up 6V6gt, and just happen to have a nos quad of those for spares on the shelf. Should be a fun little receiver for the office system!   
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

firedome

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2020, 03:21:15 PM »
The money shot:
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

TC Chris

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2020, 03:53:31 PM »
We didn't have a Korvette's but a regional discount chain had a hi-fi department for a while when I was in college.  One day a neighbor down the way recruited me to help him with a delivery.  He was a drug company detail man and he had to make some deliveries ad claimed back pain.  We drove to a small town about 50 miles away where a local doctor had a back room filled with pills of every kind, some just in bowls, all pretty sloppily maintained.  I've always wondered what kind of operation the doc had going and whether he was in cahoots with this neighbor to make some extra bucks on the side.  He was always a bit close to the edge of the law in his business dealings. In any event, on the way home we went by the local discount chain and the neighbor bought himself a stereo system, the centerpiece of which was a big (tube) Sherwood receiver.  We went back and set it up and I sort of let the cat out of the bag about the purchase to his wife--the story line was supposed to be that it was a gift from the doc, not a purchase, but nobody had advised me.  I've always wondered what happened to that Sherwood.  There was a divorce a few years later, and then the guy died fairly young.

Chris Campbell

firedome

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2020, 04:39:22 PM »
I regularly perused Consumer Reports at the local library for cars, stereos, and you name it in the mid-'60s. They frequently named Sherwood's tube components of the time as a "Best Buy" and there's still a fair amount of them around, probably due to that rating.

Found a pic of the E.J.Korvette store near us, Ed will remember this... it was huge and was a very early discount full-service Dept store, 5 x the size of a typical Woolworth's and 5 & 10s of that ilk. The legend on the street was that it was formed by a group of 8 Jewish Korean veterans, hence the name, but apparently that was apocryphal , it was actually named after the sporty car, and the E J initials were to make it like F W Woolworth or some such!!

Their Record Dept was by far the biggest in Baltimore, and every record had a letter sticker on the front upper R corner:  A, B, C, D, E...  and charts on the various walls correlated each letter to the price: $1.99, 2.99, &c. (always ending in .99!)  Sometimes they'd have a big sale and signs all over stating  "C" RECORDS NOW PRICED "D"!  Actually I can't recall whether it was an "A" or "F" that was the lowest price, but I always liked those sales! They had lots of components in their Hi-Fi gallery but don't recall any  consoles... it'd be interesting to know if they ever had those!

Like all the early big discount stores - Caldor, Wards, and so on - Korvettes was done in by WalMart.  With its endless rows of fluorescent lighting, giant bins of soft goods and messy racks of bargain clothes, Korvettes had all the ambiance  of an East German Macy's, but their prices were the lowest anywhere.  They went bankrupt in 1980...but still miss that place where I was able to nurture an early love of recorded music and see the right gear to play it back! 
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

TC Chris

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2020, 11:10:47 PM »
I regularly perused Consumer Reports at the local library for cars, stereos, and you name it in the mid-'60s. They frequently named Sherwood's tube components of the time as a "Best Buy" and there's still a fair amount of them around, probably due to that rating.


Sherwood was especially gifted in the FM engineering department, producing some very good tuners. They maintained their quality into the solid-state age.  My parents bought my sister a Sherwood receiver somewhere around 1975 and when I visit my mother's house I'll it on to public radio in the a.m.  Still going strong.  The Marantz bookshelf speakers are nothing to jump up and down about, however. The whole getup was a Consumer Reports item, I think.  I've got a similar one that rotates in and out of service in my shop.  It gets pulled when one channel goes out and I forget that the problem is the contacts in the headphone jack that cut out the speakers when the phones are plugged in.  My brother used this one in his shop and gave it to me when that channel gave out.  It perplexed me mightily until somehow I figured out the phone jack issue.  Wow, problem solved.

Chris Campbell

firedome

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2020, 02:51:36 PM »
Sherwood was evidently v good stuff, and while not the most attractive, it was a bargain for it's performance level, as Consumer Reports attested.

Surprised there's no response from "Ed from baltimore" on this particular thread; we grew up about 5 miles apart and I can almost guarantee he and/or his parents were likely to have been patrons of E.J. Korvettes' Perring Plaza store, pretty much everyone around that part of Baltimore went there. I think the entire Plaza may be all gone now, just one more retail victim of WalMart/Amazon. 
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

Bill

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2020, 03:42:53 PM »
Hey Everyone!

I think something has happened to Ed.  He and I were occasionally emailing back and forth and the last time I heard from him was November 8th.  I have sent him emails since, but nothing from him.  He had mentioned both on the forum and emails to me that he had had health problems, but was doing ok.  I'm going to keep reaching out to him, but I'm afraid something happened.  That makes me feel bad, he was a good guy.

Bill


firedome

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2020, 02:07:33 PM »
Yes, wondered why Ed hadn't been around for awhile, certainly a nice guy and a wealth of knowledge. I know that he had at some point moved from the area we both grew up in, just N of Baltimore City (we even haunted the same electronics store!), to the Eastern Shore downy oshun, near OC... (Ocean City for you non-Bawlamer Merliners).

He & I were one of the few here from the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast... odd given we're one of the few really big population centers of the country. Most here hail from Mid-west or South/Southwest it seems. Hope he's OK...
Ed, please check in!
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

Bill

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2020, 03:57:54 PM »
Thanks Roger, I hope he is ok too!   

Bill


firedome

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2020, 11:06:56 AM »
Iv'e noticed over the last year or 2 Ed, like me, would kinda pop in after a spell of absence, so hopefully he's just busy, distracted... also wasn't he using a library computer? maybe access is an issue.
Happy Motoring! from Roger in NY

Bill

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Re: Anyone remember E.J.Korvettes Hi-Fi room?
« Reply #10 on: January 19, 2020, 08:47:51 AM »
Ed was using a library computer, but he did finally get internet service at his home.  My last email from him said he would be going to family for Thanksgiving.  I have not heard from him since. 

Bill