Support your local music store!

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mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
I try to support local stores if they're reasonable. The local shop in my town (actually there were three but one was a custom maker - Gary Noonan and that closed too) closed about five years ago. I bought my main kit there and they were mostly fairly reasonable prices; although occasionally not. I got on with the staff and shopped there for a long time. The other small shop I don't shop at. They have a bad attitude and seem to spend most of their time chatting to their friends whilst smoking illegal substances and thinking they're the big 'I am'. I've had good service there sometimes but in general I don't like shopping there.

A new store opened in a local shopping centre a little while after that and even had some of the same staff, although it was a completely different company. Sadly, the manager and I had a falling out after he messed me around (I applied for a job there and didn't get it but didn't actually tell me that for a month after messing me around with excuses). So I just stopped shopping there. Eventually that store closed because of tax irregularities and the subsequent fallout with the Inland Revenue. Needless to say I felt somewhat vindicated because they were fairly poor - especially their pricing.

There is a very good guitar shop in a town about fifteen miles away that also sometimes sells basic drum equipment - especially hardware. When I first went in there the stock they had was all good quality (even the lower-end gear, they wouldn't stock anything less than a Yamaha Pacifica) and the store owner kept knocking money off every time I spoke to him. An item would start at seventy pounds and I'd walk out having paid fifty-five just because we were amiable. I go back there when I can but I don't tend to buy a lot of equipment at the moment and I lived in another part of the country for a few years (which had a great local music shop).

I think in the UK, the local shops are very variable. It's hard to find a very well stocked shop but that's not usually the issue. The issue is usually one of price and service. I've had some very good and very poor service and I'm quite happy to pay a little more if the service is good. If the service is bad, I just won't even consider shopping there. If the item is very niche, then it's eBay or one of the bigger shops online. We don't have 'chains' here like Guitar Center or Sam Ash but some of the 'individual' shops are bigger than others and those bigger shops tend to dominate the online marketplace. That said, I've bought a lot of guitar equipment from a small retailer online (http://www.axesrus.com/) that had fantastic stock and pricing for really awkward items like scratchplates and machine heads.

So the picture here is very varied. If the item is unusual, then it has to be online usually. If it's not then you might be lucky to have a good local shop but many places won't.
 
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macr0w

Member
I would support a local shop if we had one.

Guitar City and SamAsh is all we have left after they ran the locals out of business.

:-/
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I think you're lucky if you have a choice, many don't, including myself. I have a local general music shop, but they only stock budget drum gear. They do offer higher quality guitars & general band audio stuff, & the owner has a good working knowledge of most things. my band do use that store quite a bit. Aside from that store, my nearest drum shop of any note is 2 hours drive away. To get anything of quality I'm pretty much forced into buying online. If you are lucky enough to have a local drum store of quality, then it really is in your interest to use it.

From a drum manufacturers perspective, especially if you produce quality gear, a lack of specialist drum stores is a big issue. Your gear needs to be offered in an environment that's conducive to supporting your product & offering it in an appropriate way. Such stores are few & far between. Certainly, big multi instrument stores are of little use. The reason I'm highlighting this, is that a lack of specialist drum stores dramatically reduces choice to the customer.
 

Mad About Drums

Pollyanna's Agent
In the past I use to be very friendly with the owner of my local music shop, having been a customer there for over 15 years or so before moving abroad.

Our relationship was based on mutual trust, and after a few years, I was "entitled" to nice discounts too, but more importantly, I could purchase any drums or cymbals I wanted and add it to my "account" and pay for it later on a monthly basis on a no-interest basis, this very convenient way of purchasing my drumming gear allowed me to buy items that I could not afford otherwise, I do miss that a lot, but hey! I don't buy that much nowadays in terms of new drums etc, just consumables, heads, sticks and so on. :)
 

bmuren

Member
If it's something like sticks, skins, hardware/DVDs etc then I will just buy them here but when I'm looking at a snare/kit/cymbal I'll def be checking out eBay.
To me it's the absolute opposite. To me, a cymbal or a drum must be checked out before bying it!
 
M

mediocrefunkybeat

Guest
Unless they're vintage drums it's usually ok to buy new over the Internet. Most manufacturers are very consistent these days and if you've done your research you should know what you're buying regardless of whether you've tried them or not. I have a good idea of what I would buy new and would be quite happy to buy them over the Internet if I were looking to. Trying out in the shop is largely irrelevant to me because of the shop floor issues like noise, head selection and acoustics.

Cymbals, on the other hand, I would prefer to buy in person if possible but it's not that important. I have bought a few sight-unseen and it's worked very well for me, even on the handmade cymbals but if possible I would prefer to try first. I like to think that I know my stuff when it comes to cymbals. I usually aim for a ballpark sound in mind and find cymbals that will fit that sound. If I wanted a dark but trashy low-pitched ride I can think of a number of cymbals that would fulfill that requirement and I work from there. If I see what looks about right, I jump on it. It usually takes me at least a year before I know whether or not a cymbal was the right purchase because only by then have I played it enough so first impressions are deeply unimportant.

I am a cymbal junkie but I don't buy many. I spend a lot of time working them out instead and altering my playing style. I know what will and what won't work.
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
It's too bad that some moms-and-pops aren't finding a niche as the world changes, but that's just how economies change and grow.
The smart shops have always found that niche by focusing on the areas that online merchants and box stores can't or won't, such as repairs, lessons, carrying niche brands, etc. Anyone can sell a DW9000 or Remo Ambassador. That doesn't make those vendors necessarily desirable, unless they also have the lowest price. Trying to save a buck is nothing new.

The shops that survive do so for good reason: they've adpated. So, they deserve a chance at our business. Not as a reward for hanging in there, but as a probable benefit to us.

I go out of my way to do business with small shops, because I save money that way. But, I also understand that in many areas, there just aren't as many options as I have living in a huge metro area. If those shops can't rise to the occasion, then unfortunately they'll go out of business, too. The sad part is, from time to time, people will wish there was a local shop to get something now or get some advice or service... and they'll be gone.

Bermuda
 

Duck Tape

Platinum Member
To me it's the absolute opposite. To me, a cymbal or a drum must be checked out before bying it!
Well it's the higher priced items that you save more $$$ when you shop online, but I will try them in stores if I don't know what to expect. Cymbals are mostly unique so your approach holds more water in that sense but it's worth the risk with certain brands.
 

marko138

Silver Member
I only shop at Dale's Drum Shop in Harrisburg PA. In fact, I need to run up there today or tomorrow and buy a new throne with Xmas money.
 

Kg_lee

Senior Member
I only shop at Dale's Drum Shop in Harrisburg PA. In fact, I need to run up there today or tomorrow and buy a new throne with Xmas money.
They are A**h***s there! I've shopped there since I was a kid and they are mad at me cause I bought my last kit elsewhere cause I saved $250. I am unemployed also...so $250 means something to me. I also in 2011 bought two drum kits from them one Ludwig classic and the other a Sonor force 3007 for my kids. Really what do they want from me? I told them straight up I don't have a lot of money and I shop for the best price. They are the ones that made it personal over $250. I'm not one to keep a drum kit so it's not like they would never see me again. After their attitude and smart remarks about to people I know I will never shop there.

I can find better deals then them anyway. Dales use to be a great drum shop but all they sell anymore is new Old stock drum that they buy for nothing.

By the way Bentley Drum Shop killed their price on my Ludwig Vistalite kit.

Other great place for kiiler deals is Backbeat Drum Shop.
 
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tamadrm

Platinum Member
I feel a little privledged here because while I do frequent two of the mom and pop stores on Staten Island,Its a ferry/train ride away to Steve Maxwells,or a 45 minute drive to the Long Island Drum Center.Until recently I also had Drummers World(no relation) who unfortuneately closed their doors due to the economy.

If you ever get to NY city or Chicago...you have to visit Steve Maxwells.Its is beyond descriptsion.A shop/museum/repair center and much more rolled into one.Outstanding staff,and Steve himself is just an open book of vintage/modern drum and cymbal knowledge.This is the kind of place all drummers should have access to.This is where you are encouraged to play different drums and cymbals.

I have gone to Guitar Center locally,but I find just a general lack of knowledge concerning anything that they don't carry.Its like the sales clerks are reading from Q cards...thats when you can get one to help you.

Like i said...I'm just lucky to live in the Big Apple.

Steve B
 

bmuren

Member
Well it's the higher priced items that you save more $$$ when you shop online, but I will try them in stores if I don't know what to expect.
I think that trying something out in a store, and then buy it on the internet is brassy. Just my opinion.
 

zambizzi

Platinum Member
I won't support you solely because you're a Mom and Pop. I want a good selection at a good price, and fast. If they could provide that and be competitive, then yea they would get my business first. But the stores around me are not all that. Business is business.
Truth! Well said, Larry.

I use local music stores whenever possible. I am a local business and I rely on local people by and large to earn my living.

I do buy and sell on eBay, big boxes and online. I don't like that it takes music stores so long to order stuff. But I always give local merchants a fair shot at my business.
We're all local to somewhere. However, this is a different era...the internet erases borders and greatly eases many logistical challenges. I run a local business too, yet I'm not limited to local customers, thanks to technology. This is the reality that small, local businesses need to adapt to. Innovate or go extinct, in the information age.

We have two local music shops, that I know of. Both of them (mostly) rely upon school sales and rentals and tend to treat every other type of customer as an afterthought at best...a major inconvenience at worst. After giving them both the opportunity to earn my buck, I quit trying. Guitar Center just does it better and the staff they've kept over the past couple of years has been a big improvement. If GC doesn't have it...I can find it in seconds online, and usually get free shipping or some sort of discount.

The smart shops have always found that niche by focusing on the areas that online merchants and box stores can't or won't, such as repairs, lessons, carrying niche brands, etc. Anyone can sell a DW9000 or Remo Ambassador. That doesn't make those vendors necessarily desirable, unless they also have the lowest price. Trying to save a buck is nothing new.

The shops that survive do so for good reason: they've adpated. So, they deserve a chance at our business. Not as a reward for hanging in there, but as a probable benefit to us.

I go out of my way to do business with small shops, because I save money that way. But, I also understand that in many areas, there just aren't as many options as I have living in a huge metro area. If those shops can't rise to the occasion, then unfortunately they'll go out of business, too. The sad part is, from time to time, people will wish there was a local shop to get something now or get some advice or service... and they'll be gone.

Bermuda
Well said. However, the need for local advice and service is also a need that has been met by technology. You can ship shells to a number of different vendors to have work done, modifications, etc. There are dozens of small custom drum builders to choose from online, with endless examples and feedback on their work. All the advice you could ever hope for can be found right here on DW - as well as a plethora of tips, tricks, videos, and other invaluable information to make us all better musicians. IMO, the "local" model is dying off...it's a relic of a bygone era.

If you wish to be successful as a local business w/ the vibe of an old school shop, you don't need to use it as an excuse to avoid competing with others...you need to adapt to the market and work *at least* as hard as your competition.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Let's not forget the people on the box stores and warehouses making minimum wage have to eat too . I shop where it's chespest
 

dwdrummerky

Senior Member
I stopped supporting my local shops about ten years ago. They used to be great, had plenty of selection, and knowledge. Recently I find that my local music stores, and there are only a handful, are...

-way overpriced...and I mean big time
-not very knowledgeable about gear yet patronizing and rude
-Try to push whatever product they get the best deal on me at regular price
-Try to sell me gear that has been played or sitting in the shop for months for regular price


-BS me on what gear costs them....For me this is the deal breaker. My local five star drum shop regularly acts as if the 16" A Custom Crash they have on the shelf for MAP price is only 5-10% above the cost they pay. Bwahahahahaha give me a damn break, straigh up lies.
Another good story of the same shop was that when I was working at the competitors of this shop, the Kaman rep was very candid about the practices of many local shops. He told me they were selling less Sabian Cymbals at that shop because the employees were brought to Nashville to the Meinl wareshouse and got to pick out many cymbals while getting many for free.
I figured maybe I could go there and pick up a Byzance for a deal, wrong! He tried to act like nothing can ever touch a meinl and proceeded to price a pair of hats at 5% over MAP. That means I pay more than the map price, sales tax, and they have been on a stand being played for who knows how long. This guy must be a moron and he runs the shop! On top of that the dude can barely play a kit. After that i told my Kaman rep about the experience and he said "he probly got those hats free or damn near it, he saw you comin'"
Now this is my perceptiion of local shops, I dont buy from them ever. I dont mind paying a reasonable price for gear but I dont like games and lies, which is what many have resorted to. Now I understand not all shops are like this, but many are.
 

Deathmetalconga

Platinum Member
We're all local to somewhere. However, this is a different era...the internet erases borders and greatly eases many logistical challenges. I run a local business too, yet I'm not limited to local customers, thanks to technology. This is the reality that small, local businesses need to adapt to. Innovate or go extinct, in the information age.

We have two local music shops, that I know of. Both of them (mostly) rely upon school sales and rentals and tend to treat every other type of customer as an afterthought at best...a major inconvenience at worst. After giving them both the opportunity to earn my buck, I quit trying. Guitar Center just does it better and the staff they've kept over the past couple of years has been a big improvement. If GC doesn't have it...I can find it in seconds online, and usually get free shipping or some sort of discount.
Have you checked out Dorsey's drum and percussion selection? They have more stuff than Guitar Center and a great collection of ethnic percussion, trap drums, cymbals and hardware, mics, PAs, guitars and ukeleles, as well as some decent used stuff. I disagree that all local shops treat some customers as an afterthought. Dunkley, yes, they're not too much into serving people in bands and seem more school orchestra focused. But Dorsey does a great job in providing lots of choices and their prices are pretty competitive.

This is a different era, and it is also the same era. People in a geographic area rely on each other and I will continue to give locally-owned shops a shot at my business.

I've heard of people going into a local shop, trying out the gear and then buying that same gear online to save five bucks. To me, that's just total douche.
 

Naigewron

Platinum Member
It's pretty simple really. When they stop charging 2 to 3 times the US price for the same piece of equipment, they'll get all the support I can muster.

Until then, I owe it to my family to save every penny I can. You wanna pay top dollar for the same item, that's your bag. Me?.....the cash is better off in my pocket and I won't apologise for ensuring that it is. It's not a matter of not wanting to, more a matter of music stores in Oz being commercially unviable for anything outside of heads, sticks and other smaller items. :)
This is my reasoning exactly. It was the case when I lived in Australia, and it's still the case now that I live in Norway.

I fully realise that I should support local businesses, but I'm simply not able to do so at any cost. I spend a substantial amount of money on music gear every year, and if I were to buy it locally I'd easily have to spend 2-3 times as much. This is why I buy most of my stuff (except sticks and heads) from either Germany or the US.
 

dwdrummerky

Senior Member
I've heard of people going into a local shop, trying out the gear and then buying that same gear online to save five bucks. To me, that's just total douche.
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Yeah I agree. The only time I do this is when its gear that has been played a lot, like crash cymbals with 6 months of grime, or when I try to buy a snare that has been played to the point of needing new heads. If the mom & pop dealer wont budge for selling used gear, I will leave and pay $20 more for new in the box gear. IMO its like going to buy tires and the dealer saying "oh, we had several customers test drive the tires, but they are new so you pay full price". I dont think so and it infuriates me.
 
Unsure if this has been mentioned yet, but a problem I find with my local store is that they can not get access to certain lines, usually the higher ones from the drum companies. This is because they must spend a certain amount before being allowed to purchase from the higher lines.

An example of this is when I was looking to purchase my Ludwig Centennial. My local store wasn't allowed to buy the kit from the distributor unless they had already bought 10 kits from Ludwig.

I know this is also apparent with other instruments i.e Gibson guitars, but for a store that will only usually stock budget kits it makes it difficult to support the store if you cant get what you want.
 
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