February 6, 2022 – West Bend, WI – Neighbors in West Bend may want to drop the needle on their favorite vinyl today in remembrance of Dennis Benn. The longtime manager of The Exclusive Co. in West Bend has died.
Benn was a child of the 60’s. He favored music from Stevie Ray Vaughan to The Beatles and Rolling Stones. Jazz and blues were a staple for Benn who played drums in the local Back Alley Blues Band.
Benn started at The Exclusive Co. in West Bend in October 1976 and was a fixture behind the old front counter for 35 years.
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Maxwell Street Day was a big event for the store as Benn would haul crates full of albums and cassette tapes to the curb in front of 144 N. Main Street.
Some in West Bend recall when records were pretty limited in town. “I don’t know that Schultz Brothers (the Baird building) had anything. JC Pennys and Ley’s Department Store (Jeanne’s County Casuals) all carried clothing and we had the Ben Franklin and they had fish and clothes and crafts, so the only record store we had at the time was The Exclusive Company,” said Kathey German.
“They were in a long, dark, narrow building on Main St. Then they moved to the old Campbell’s store. I’d be flipping through the albums in my groovy crocheted vest; the one that was down to your knees because your aunt made it one-size-fits-none. I bought my In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida album, and my brother made a black light in some shop class and we’d play that album for 99 hours because it was the best drum song ever and then your parents yelled to turn it down, but that really meant off.”
Benn had some health issues and received a successful lung transplant May 26, 2013.
Dennis Benn was 63. He reportedly died in his sleep at home in West Bend on Thursday, February 3, 2022.
A full obituary will be posted when details become available.
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