My name is Jason Friedman. My parents, Joe and Rachelle Friedman (“J” and “R”), started J&R Music World together 40 years ago. My father had an engineering degree and a love for electronics and gadgets so opening an electronics store was a natural for him. My mother had a chemistry degree but had a strong passion for music so it was equally fun for her to sell LPs and flip through their vast collection after hours. 3 years later when my mother was pregnant with me and had to work from home (in the days before VPNs and Email) she realized there were other people at home that would find home shopping convenient, and hence J&R’s mail order / Toll-Free division was born, which of course would be the precursor to JR.com.
We had an awesome Grand Opening! You can have a look at some of the fun here.
I was lucky enough to grow up in the fun, ever-changing Electronics, Computers, and Music business. I got to meet countless rock stars (Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, The Stones, Lenny Kravitz, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Billy Joel, Aretha, etc), and yes I always had the latest and greatest stereo, laptop, and game system on the block.
After graduating NYU’s Stern School of Business in 1995 with a focus in computer programming, I started pursuing my JD at Cardozo Law School. With my passion still in Programming I saw companies like Amazon and others emerge at that time and wanted to help my parents break in to the “dot com fad”, so as a side project to my law school studies I helped build them a front-end website to support their already strong mail order business. When I quickly realized that online shopping was not a fad I “took a break” from law school to head up JR.com full time. 15 years later and I’m still here.
There was a small break in the action in the summer of 2001 when I decided to move to L.A. and pursue my Business graduate degree at USC. But just like law school before it, fate would tear me away quickly. 1 month in to Business school the terrible tragedy of 9/11 occurred 1 block from J&R. Thankfully nobody from here was hurt, but given the proximity the store was severely damaged and used as a command post for the fire and police depts. My parents had to close the store indefinitely and given the state of Downtown Manhattan at the time no one was sure if customers or J&R would come back. Within 2 days I got rid of my apartment, dropped out of USC, and moved back to NY to be with my family and help try to restart my family’s business (covered in the NY Times). Oddly enough, if I didn’t move back to NY when I did I wouldn’t have met my beautiful wife a few weeks later. We were married 1 year after 9/11 and given our relationship with NYC and our involvement in the downtown area I had the honor of Mayor Giuliani speaking at my wedding.
Fast forward now 9 years later – I am still running JR.com, my wife is a certified pediatrician, my 4 year old daughter will be starting kindergarten, and we’re about to celebrate my 2nd child’s 1st birthday. My whole life now revolves around being a Dad, and I couldn’t be happier. My wife and I are online a few nights a week looking at different baby gear or shopping in one of the many baby megastores NYC has to offer. I love shopping for this stuff – so much of it is cool and fun and I wish I had as a kid. But the biggest problem I found with these megastores and megasites is the selection is a bit overwhelming and sometimes confusing. I wanted products that were safe, looked cool, and exceeded all standards. So just like my parents before me I thought well if I love it so much then I should get in to the business and put my spin on things. I wanted to start a Kids store that only J&R, an institution known for its integrity, customer service, incredibly knowledgeable staff, and breadth of assortment could do. J&R offers the best in electronics so I figured why not offer the best for Kids. As a parent I want the best for my children and that’s what I will offer you as well. At J&R Jr. we have eliminated the guesswork and handpicked all the best gear so new and seasoned parents alike can make better buying decisions.
We will be opening our doors at 1 Ann St in NYC and jr.com/jr in mid-November and hope to have most of the “kinks” worked out in time for the Christmas season. We will be offering free gift wrapping to help parents find that perfect gift, and we hope over time to become an important part of the growing Tribeca / Financial District / Battery Park family community.
J&R has always been a family business. My parents are both still here running the show. I started working here 15 years ago running JR.com as a side project and am still running it today. Now it is time to take this family business that has historically been focused on “guy’s toys” to the entire family with our newly expanded Housewares dept and J&R Jr. for Kids.
As the son of “J” and “R” I always had the nickname “J&R Jr.”. So I thought what better way to honor the family business tradition and bring J&R in to the next generation then by naming our new Kids division “j&r jr.” I sincerely hope you enjoy shopping here as much as I enjoy bringing it to you.
Jason “J&R Jr.” Friedman