Another One (Retailer) Bites the Dust

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
This morning I decided that I would make the trek across town and hit up my favorite music store. This place is the biggest and most well supplied Mom & Pop joint in New Mexico - Grandma's Music & Sound- I love going there!

Well, when I pulled up today I saw a big dumpster located in the parking lot. I didn't really think much of it due to the fact that they announced a few months ago that they were going to move to another location. As soon as I walked into the store, I'm hit by this felling of doom; the whole store is practically an empty shell of its former self. but I figured that I would look around and see if there were any odds and ends that I might want and then find out where they were moving to.

As I'm walking around looking at the little trinkets of gear left (no actual instruments were present), I overheard the owner telling a customer that it'll all be over in less than 2 weeks. This left me with a big streak of sadness.

With only 11 pairs of drum sticks left in the store, I picked out a pair of Zildjian 5As and a couple of drum keys and made my way to the register and paid the $10 they asked. The salesman said they were informed over the weekend that the store would be closing.

Online sales claim another one!

I'm as guilty of buying online as the next guy. Just a month ago or so I got a $25 coupon from Sam Ash and used it to buy a new bass drum batter head - I got it for 21 bucks! Good deal I thought. But knowing now what I wish I knew then, I would have gladly paid more for it here in town. Probably wouldn't have helped at that point though.

Were losing a piece of our culture everyday. Only Guitar Center and Music Go Round are left here.

Brick & Mortar are turning to Ash & Dust.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
Things are changing. Everything is changing. I don't miss going to stores. I kind of dig the convenience and the variety to be had. No stupid "it's my first day" sales personnel to deal with.

GC won't last either IMO. None of them will, except in an online way, eventually. My local GC used to be a vibrant place. Now the guitar guy also runs the drum shop, because there's like 2 customers there.

I like buying online. Stores days are numbered. Not all, but most stuff at the major big box stores can be had online.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's funny how the independent shops used to lament about Guitar Center hurting their business. Yet GC's selection is very pedestrian and incomplete, and their prices aren't very good, considering their buying power and notorious price negotiations. Indeed, GC could have a real reason to be a threat, but they're not. Shopping online has become the way to go in many cases, and GC has allowed that to happen by not being willing to become the b&m store they were capable of being, and in hindsight, need to be in order to survive.

Bermuda
 
M

Matt Bo Eder

Guest
It's funny how the independent shops used to lament about Guitar Center hurting their business. Yet GC's selection is very pedestrian and incomplete, and their prices aren't very good, considering their buying power and notorious price negotiations. Indeed, GC could have a real reason to be a threat, but they're not. Shopping online has become the way to go in many cases, and GC has allowed that to happen by not being willing to become the b&m store they were capable of being, and in hindsight, need to be in order to survive.

Bermuda
Well, GC is an online store with Musicians Friend and Music 123. So maybe they don't mind if the brick and mortar stores go under too?
 

Destroyer772

Gold Member
When we got our Saturn's, I had it all set up to purchased at Greenbrier Music (Online). Prices were set and I was satisfied with the final number, there was hardware involved to. As the day drew near and I got closer to a lump sum payment from my job that went to Mexico (18 years at that job as machinist). I said there is that small drum store about 60 miles up the road that would love that business, lets see if they can price match. The owner was like (yea we can do that) I made a couple visits to the store to meet the owner and employees, dropping $3500 is a big deal to me. Deal was the same as greenbrier price match and no tax. Got my money and we went up to make the order, the other worker is like the main guy under the owner, he was excited and friendly. When the final numbers came up it was around $400 higher then expected, I said the deal was no tax. His demeanor went south quick and he called the owner to make sure it was cool. He had to go make and redo the price's so it would come out the same but with tax. I was trying to make conversation talking about my cymbal set-up, and he just made me fell like a complete Idiot from that time forward. Kept asking me if I knew what I was buying, I was particular about my Stands (why shouldn't I be). I even made another purchase after that of around $1000 to try and build a relationship with this retailer thinking we could both benefit. Then I got that sweet deal on my Walnut Renown's at Drum Center of Portsmouth, they got upset that I did not involve them (WTF), I have never heard of a three way deal with 2 retailers. Anyway they didnt carry much so If I wanted anything it was still buying online thru them. Im sorry but my money is tight, I have to find the best deal. If it wasn't for deals I would have nothing. I am a online shopper now for good, I gave them a chance and it didn't work. Sorry to be long winded but I have wanted to get that off my chest for a while. Another thing,I had them put a EMAD2 on the Saturn Kick, I still wanted the original bass head with logo, It got lost to never be found.
 

mmulcahy1

Platinum Member
This was the only "fully equipped" music store around. GC and Music Go Round fail by comparison. It was also a fun place to hang out. When I bought a new snare dum off Ebay, I was so psyched about it that I drove over there on a Saturday morning just to show the two Drum dept. guys. The first thing they wanted to do was hear it. One of them got a stand and put the drum on it and began playing. He said he loved the way it was tuned. They had great customer relations. I may not have bought that snare drum from them, but I made up for it with a multitude of other purchases.

It was more than a retail store, it was a place to buy, browse, and hang out and talk with other musicians.

You can buy and browse online, but you can't hang and talk with other musicians.

Drummerworld excluded.
 

WallyY

Platinum Member
My feeling is a music store should be an internet online shopping experience before it's a storefront.

Like Memphis Drum Shop or Drumcenter of Portsmouth, I should be able to buy anything they have online or just walk in to get my simple sundries, knowing that if I talk or communicate with the salespeople they will also be knowledgeable and helpful.
 

Skitch

Pioneer Member
It's funny how the independent shops used to lament about Guitar Center hurting their business. Yet GC's selection is very pedestrian and incomplete, and their prices aren't very good, considering their buying power and notorious price negotiations. Indeed, GC could have a real reason to be a threat, but they're not. Shopping online has become the way to go in many cases, and GC has allowed that to happen by not being willing to become the b&m store they were capable of being, and in hindsight, need to be in order to survive.

Bermuda
EXACTLY!

GC drum departments have become very pedestrian.

Mike

http://www.mikemccraw.com
http://www.dominoretroplate.com
http://www.facebook.com/mike.mccraw
http://www.youtube.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.myspace.com/drummermikemccraw
http://www.linkedin.com/in/mikemccraw
http://twitter.com/mikemccraw
http://www.skillpages.com/mike.mccraw
 

Morrisman

Platinum Member
Adelaide's biggest drum shop (John Reynold's Music City) finally closed last weekend after 40 years. He actually sold it to a music chain 8 years ago, then bought it back from them 4 years ago when they messed up.

Last weekend was no surprise though - a real estate developer was offering millions for the site 12 months ago, planning to build an apartment block. So for 12 months the store has been selling off stock without replacing it, ready for the closing down. Instead of 50 kits on display, there have been about 3.

Now the real estate deal has fallen through, so after a year of minimal sales, the shop is now in receivership and closed. A sad ending to a 40 year story.
 
I guess I'm in the shrug department on this one. I feel sorry for people who tried to make it as a brick and mortar music shop business, but realistically, it's just an idea of the past. Like book stores before them.

Even if you think it's sad I don't know what you can do. Things change and it's sometimes frightening and confusing and sad (a lot of things make me feel that way) but you really can't stop change. You can try to prop up your local store, but they probably buy their stuff from an online retailer, so it's kind of an illusion.

It reminds me of when I went to Yellowstone last year. After we saw Old Faithful we went to the gift shop, and at the same time there were about five buses of Chinese tourists walking through the shop and looking for souvenirs. And this Chinese couple in front of me picked up a "real, authentic" driftwood keychain with "Yellowstone" written on it, turned it over, disgustedly read aloud "Made in China?!?!" and threw it back into the bin.
 

81MC

Member
I will lament the day there is not an independent, real life, locally owned, personally stocked, community music store in my city.
Yes, they often don't always have precisely what I was looking to purchase or the rock-bottom lowest pricing. But they are tremendous resources for sharing, learning, experimenting and maybe purchasing something on its own merit. To me a wonderful thing about instruments is the individuality of them; what I read a review about, see a big name artist endorse, and can get for prime price may actually not be the right fit for what I'm looking for. My local drum shop carries cymbals and kits that are not the first thing someone looking to buy cymbals may google-search, but you have the ability to discuss, play and hear this equipment. Not to mention chat with like minded people in a great environment.
Just in my last trip I bought 'new' backline heads for less than a single one from a chain, some miscellaneous used hardware, a 50s maple Slingerland, an old Zildjian crash etc. Were I to keyboard shop, I'd probably have ended up with a new off the shelf snare I'd never heard, the same heads I'd been playing for ever... but no crash, because I can't possibly imagine doing that online with anything other than some B8s.
Support the people who live in your town and provide local economy. I am truly saddened to think our children may not understand Community can be deeper than the Starbucks, Walmart and Chapters built into every 'neighbourhood' strip mall.
 

AzHeat

Platinum Member
^^^^ I've already had a good taste of not having local options to see or hear anything I'm looking for. We have GCs in my area, but every store carries the exact same thing, SPL, PDP, DW and nothing in between and three lines of cymbals. I had to roll the dice on my cymbals and hope for the best after listening to a slew of YouTube videos. Buying cymbals that way makes everyone on this forum cringe, but I ran out of options. I also keep reading recommendations about playing each drum set being contemplated, so pretty surprised most comments so far have been about the joys of buying online.

One thing is for sure. I'll save money when all drum shops are gone. I'm hard pressed to buy anything without seeing it, so likely won't make a move on much. I finally went into a GC store in Southern California and thought I had died and gone to heaven. Finally got to see a Mapex, Yamaha, Sonor, And Tama models I've only seen in pics. Got to play them all too. What a concept! It actually felt and looked like a real Drum Shop. Haven't seen one of those in over a decade.
 

Mike Stand

Silver Member
Yup, online sales is the future...in fact, it's already the present, very much so.

However, I think a lot of us older folks are forgetting something important.

We might have the experience and knowledge to make purchase choices without having the product physically at hand.

But when a young musician starts out, they have absolutely no idea whatsoever about the different brands and types of instruments available. Paiste or Zildjian or Sabian? Remo or Evans or Aquarian? Thin cymbals or heavy cymbals? Maple or birch or who-knows-what? Never mind the myriad of drumhead choices... and pedals and hardware... etc etc etc...

I think it's imperative that a beginner have the opportuity to try out gear in a proper showroom. I would have no idea what to order online if I hadn't already refined my appreciation of different products over the years.

When I was a teenager I would get up at 5 oclock in the morning, walk a mile to the train station, get a cheap, slow train connection (2 trains) and end up at 9h30 in front of the largest music store in the country (30 minutes before opening time). It was like arriving at the doors of heaven. I went into that store completely clueless, and hence completely unbiased. I find that many of my early experiences there helped me forge my preferences in regards to drum gear.

Of course, the quality instrument market is a small niche, especially drums. For a store to thrive it has to be run by competent and committed staff (musicians) who also are business savvy. I think the stores that are doing alright now are those that are run by drummers who have heavily branched out into online sales. A good combination between a brick and mortar base and a virtual sales site. The additional online sales is what allows the store to be well stocked. The local demand on it's own would not be enough.

I've seen too many stores that just aren't well stocked and the staff are of little help. There's just no point in having them around. I think a little consolidation of the market might be a good thing. I hate to say it, but a smaller number of stronger retailers competing nationally might be a good thing. In the UK, a lot of independants have gone bust. But there's a very respactable chain called PMT with good staff and stock. They're opening stores in more and more towns. In France there's a retailer that started as a purely online business, they now have two stores. So maybe these "big players" will eventually rejuvenate the "local scenes". Of course, European countries are simply a lot smaller than Canada and the USA. I was in Manchester two years ago and wanted to try some hats, not in stock. PMT simply had them transferred with some other stock from their Leeds store that same day so I could try them out.
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
I will lament the day there is not an independent, real life, locally owned, personally stocked, community music store in my city.
Yes, they often don't always have precisely what I was looking to purchase or the rock-bottom lowest pricing. But they are tremendous resources for sharing, learning, experimenting and maybe purchasing something on its own merit. To me a wonderful thing about instruments is the individuality of them; what I read a review about, see a big name artist endorse, and can get for prime price may actually not be the right fit for what I'm looking for. My local drum shop carries cymbals and kits that are not the first thing someone looking to buy cymbals may google-search, but you have the ability to discuss, play and hear this equipment. Not to mention chat with like minded people in a great environment.

Support the people who live in your town and provide local economy. I am truly saddened to think our children may not understand Community can be deeper than the Starbucks, Walmart and Chapters built into every 'neighbourhood' strip mall.
Absolutely bang on sir.

Sadly, this has happened in my neck of the woods in England. There's no independent drum shops and hasn't been for 5 years.

Birmingham Drum Centre was the last to go and that was the UKs largest independent store (I think). That place was massive but lived beyond its means.

Online isn't any cheaper here, postage costs are extortionate and take away any online discount you might get.

I really miss the little upstairs shop I used to go to that had a great 2nd hand section. It was ran by drummers for drummers so you never got ripped off and they only sold stuff you needed and they were great for advice and spare parts.
 

Groov-E

Silver Member
Well a business strategist might make the point to a larger dealer that adopting a nationwide agressive pricing policy to eliminate the smaller competition is a pretty good move.

Once you have a situation of oligopoly, you can make three or four phone calls and set prices and squeeze manufacturers, a practice better known as colluding.

Whether this is done purposefully or naturally, less and less competition will in the end be bad for the consumer and splendid for the few at the top.

Taken in a macro perspective extended to every aspect of online buying, one could expect boarded up windows and decrepit commercial strips in his neighbourhood , more people on the streets as everyone can not work for amazon and the like.

Add a good dose of IA and start laying down the bricks of one puzzling future.
 
J

JohnoWorld

Guest
Absolutely bang on sir.

Sadly, this has happened in my neck of the woods in England. There's no independent drum shops and hasn't been for 5 years.

Birmingham Drum Centre was the last to go and that was the UKs largest independent store (I think). That place was massive but lived beyond its means.

Online isn't any cheaper here, postage costs are extortionate and take away any online discount you might get.

I really miss the little upstairs shop I used to go to that had a great 2nd hand section. It was ran by drummers for drummers so you never got ripped off and they only sold stuff you needed and they were great for advice and spare parts.
I bought my BRX from there, at the time they had Terry Bozzios monster kit in there. "Get down from there" was the cry :)

Scheerers in leeds was my shop - just your one stop shop for drums. I hate going into town but that was the only shop I would go to over ordering online. Then one day, it just disappeared.

Maybe there is a market for mobile showrooms. A third party is hired by major manufacturers to showcase their new gear round the country every week. People can play, try them out, turn it into a showcase of new gear.

^ completely pie in the sky as they wouldn't want to share
 

mikyok

Platinum Member
Maybe there is a market for mobile showrooms. A third party is hired by major manufacturers to showcase their new gear round the country every week. People can play, try them out, turn it into a showcase of new gear.

^ completely pie in the sky as they wouldn't want to share
There's the drum shows which seem to be a bit more popular these days which are kind of a mobile show room.

The Vintage Drum Fayre is near me but it can be a bit hit and miss. There are collectors that show up and have a look at what I've got stand.

Never done the London show but I'm off to the one in Manchester in September. Just to see Chambers and Lang more than anything. Still gutted I'm not about for the Sunday or JR on Saturday.

There's a couple of things I'm after and hopefully there's show deals on.
 

Mike Stand

Silver Member
Well a business strategist might make the point to a larger dealer that adopting a nationwide agressive pricing policy to eliminate the smaller competition is a pretty good move.

Once you have a situation of oligopoly, you can make three or four phone calls and set prices and squeeze manufacturers, a practice better known as colluding.

Whether this is done purposefully or naturally, less and less competition will in the end be bad for the consumer and splendid for the few at the top.

Taken in a macro perspective extended to every aspect of online buying, one could expect boarded up windows and decrepit commercial strips in his neighbourhood , more people on the streets as everyone can not work for amazon and the like.

Add a good dose of IA and start laying down the bricks of one puzzling future.
I can definately understand your argument and concern. We live in the age of massive multi-national companies that completely dominate our economies.

However, I don't see the drum business as something which would naturally fit into that context and scale of things (not just yet anyway). It's a comparatively small niche and certainly too complex and not sufficiently lucrative for it to develope into something comparable to other larger market sectors (food retail, electronics, entertainment, etc). IMO, this is why drum retail is having a tough time. It's just a really small and tough market to survive in. I think it might be preferable for everyone to have a few healthy "big players" instead of lots of small outlets that barely scrape by and can't offer much.

Perhaps Amazon and Walmart can make a healthy profit despite low margins because of the volume of sales of ordinary items, everything from batteries to electronics, DVDs, etc. Drum gear is not what I consider "an ordinary item" though. It's the kind of product which is much more "personal" and will always require much more effort to sell, and the market will always be small by comparison. So when I say that consolidation could be a good thing, I'm not thinking on the level of a large "corporation" but rather mid-size specialist chains or larger single stores that do internet sales as well. Seems to work for PMT in the UK and Memphis Drum Shop as well as others in the USA.

On a final note, I think consumers need to ease up a little in regards to prices. Trying to always get the best possible deal is detrimental to the business that provides the gear we love. 20€ more or less for a new drum kit is negligable over the long term, except for the least well off amongst us. A few cents more for some heads or sticks, is it really going to make a big difference to us?However, that exta 3% off the sale price each time can perhaps mean the difference between breaking even or going bust for a retailer. I'm tight when it comes to certain things, but for drum gear I don't like going into scrooge mode. And I say that as one of the "less well off" (I have the payslip to back up that claim!).
 

Mike Stand

Silver Member
I just had another thought... (this thread has really got me going)

We are really spoilt for choice of gear today compared to 20 years ago.

What if this choice has contributed to the decline of drumshops?

Just think, a drummer goes into a store that's well stocked with both the Remo and Evans range. The guy says "sorry, I use Aquarian"... it would have to be a special order so the guy decides to order online because it's quicker and cheaper. Or even worse, a drummer goes into a store and wants a Zildjian Avedis crash cymbal. The store has a whole range of Avedis crash cymbals... but not the one the Customer is looking for. That's a lot of expensive stock sitting on the shelves that the retailer needs to sell, but it's still not enough to convert most shoppers into buying customers.

Admit it, we're a difficult bunch at times. The industry has developed an enormous number of different products to satisfy our every little desire for the perfect gear that fits our personal taste.

How can a respectably stocked shop survive if perhaps even half of the potential customers don't want what's in stock? And it is simply not possible for any single retailer to have everything in stock without overextending themselves financially. Must have been much easier back in the day when the choice was just Remo Ambassador or Emperor or Pinstripe, or the Evans equivalent. Same with cymbals...

Next time you browse your an internet retailer site just take in how much choice there is. If I want to order a drumhead online, it takes about 10 to 15 clicks just to get to the right page...
 
Top