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  #1  
Old 05-11-2013, 01:10 PM
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Default The death of retail music stores

Im looking at getting a new ride cymbal. I took a ride out to my all time favorite drum shop, a 5 star drum shop near me.

I was shocked and saddened to see that the place has obviously been going through some rough times. Where there used to be an entire section for each major cymbal brand was now one section with a pathetic selection of entry level cymbals and just a few good ones.

The high end drum showroom was gone. No more Tama bubingas or Yamahas on the floor. Now it was all Mapex and PDP.

The store was about 1/3 smaller, all of the stock was now in the showroom and the place looked messy.

It was sad, I've made every major drum purchase from them for the last 15 years.

Local Guitar Centers aren't much better. They also call you and send you like 50 emails every time you buy a pair of sticks.

Where can I go in NY to actually play some good cymbals?
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  #2  
Old 05-11-2013, 02:59 PM
Anthony Amodeo
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

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Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post

Where can I go in NY to actually play some good cymbals?
Steve Maxwells cymbal room is among the best I have been in

psssst.....the stack on the floor is where the good stuff is

Last edited by Anthony Amodeo; 05-11-2013 at 06:34 PM.
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  #3  
Old 05-11-2013, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

It's very sad that some formerly great drum shops have withered on the vine. They were always places we could rely on for better selection, with a person behind the counter who could talk gear if we needed some direction. Curiously, some shops seem to thrive and grow in the face of a still sluggish economy and internet 'stores'.

It's hard to say what the formula for success is, certainly it's not just location. For example, in Los Angeles, actually all of Southern California, there is basically one drum shop. ONE. And it does well... it's Pro Drum and has been a Mecca for drummers for over 50 years. Yet in fairly out of the way places like Fresno, CA and Porstmouth, NH, shops appear to be doing great! Some metro areas have multiple drum shops. Good ones. I really don't get it.

GC is a different thing, much discussed and dissed. But, they're not a drum shop, and they don't pretend to be. They're a full line store with a leaning towards guitars and electronics, and they never stocked a wide selection of drum gear. With cymbals in particular, as cymbal companies and lines expanded, GC simply couldn't/wouldn't keep up. Too many SKUs, not enough space in the stores, and again, their focus is not drums.

That's why drum shops are important.

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Old 05-11-2013, 04:42 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

I can still vouch for Donn Bennett's in Seattle... a great place to shop. They recently expanded and their selection is great.

Prior to that, I used to shop at Music 6000 in Olympia... I haven't been in years, but they moved to a larger store, and their old manager, Everett, is still there after 15-someodd years. Great drum department. I plan on taking a trip to see him this coming week and talk about Crush drums.
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Old 05-11-2013, 04:54 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Had a great drum store out here in Ca that closed a few years back called west coast drums, The place and the people were awesome. Bad economy and sign of the times via internet sales forced them to shut down after almost 40 years in business,,,,,sad!!
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  #6  
Old 05-11-2013, 06:14 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Scott's Drum Center in Lafayette, Louisiana is still alive and well, the last time I was there, They had a great selection of cymbals and many mid-priced and high-priced drum sets. I was bit surprised at the lack of entry-level kits. Peace and goodwill.
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Last edited by Drumolator; 05-12-2013 at 02:25 AM.
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  #7  
Old 05-11-2013, 06:27 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

It's sad to see drum shops becoming "fitting rooms" rooms for the online sellers.
It's tough for any retailer to stock a variety these days. Especially when people are going in just to have a look and listen before they purchase on line.
I have noticed the local shops around here are also selling on line - to their benefit.
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  #8  
Old 05-11-2013, 08:26 PM
tamadrm tamadrm is offline
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Almeyda View Post
Im looking at getting a new ride cymbal. I took a ride out to my all time favorite drum shop, a 5 star drum shop near me.

I was shocked and saddened to see that the place has obviously been going through some rough times. Where there used to be an entire section for each major cymbal brand was now one section with a pathetic selection of entry level cymbals and just a few good ones.

The high end drum showroom was gone. No more Tama bubingas or Yamahas on the floor. Now it was all Mapex and PDP.

The store was about 1/3 smaller, all of the stock was now in the showroom and the place looked messy.

It was sad, I've made every major drum purchase from them for the last 15 years.

Local Guitar Centers aren't much better. They also call you and send you like 50 emails every time you buy a pair of sticks.

Where can I go in NY to actually play some good cymbals?
Jeff,are you talking about the Long Island Drum Center?There's one in Plainview and there's one in Nyack.

I haven't been to either one in a while but it would be a shame if either one closed up,or reduced their inventoryBoth were great stores


Like Ant said,Steve Maxwells is still phenominal.

Steve B

Last edited by tamadrm; 05-12-2013 at 09:47 PM.
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  #9  
Old 05-11-2013, 08:30 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Definitely Maxwells. I have heard complaints that some items are overpriced (which I personally disagree with), but their selection and quality is quite impressive. I purchased 2 of my cymbals there and love them both - you also can test them all behind a kit before you buy them.

I would even suggest bringing your current cymbals to try to find a nice match.
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  #10  
Old 05-11-2013, 09:59 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Living in relatively rural Idaho, there have never been any good drum shops to die off. Even down south in Boise, the only decent place I knew about, Idaho Percussion, went under several years ago. The closest I have to a "real" drum shop is guitar center over in Spokane, WA. Seattle is the next closest decent city, and I get over there once in a blue moon.

Sadly, any serious percussion shopping is done via internet. Only viable alternative, really.
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  #11  
Old 05-11-2013, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Steve Maxwell's is the tops!!! He and his crew are class acts.
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  #12  
Old 05-11-2013, 10:25 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Go Texas! Even though all the shops are hours away, I get Tommy's and Lone Star. Haven't checked out the prime Jeff Ryder's yet, but if it's anything like the secondary one, I don't really want to.
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  #13  
Old 05-11-2013, 10:44 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

This has been discussed in other threads, but the bleeding from drum stores continues. If a store wants to compete with internet stores, then they need to fight fire with fire. Drum Center of New Hampshire and Memphis Drum Shop are doing just that. They put merchandise on You Tube, and have decent web sites, as well as cater to walk-in trade. They do not depend strictly on walk in business, but have made the world their market. They seem to be hanging in there, and adding names to their line up. Look and learn . . .

BTW, I recently looked at a number of stores for a snare drum gig bag, including the big box stores. Because Memphis Drum Shop has been so good at taking my calls, I through them the business. Great Folks to work with, even though they are 2 states away from me. You can still deal with a drum store, even if you can't drive there easily. You have to trust the guy at the other end of the phone.

Last edited by mandrew; 05-11-2013 at 10:49 PM. Reason: another thought
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  #14  
Old 05-12-2013, 01:03 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

All my local shops have been tiny with almost no drum gear. Even for guitars its all off brand beginner stuff because if they sell anything at all ever it's an off brand Strat copy. I was spoiled by the Memphis drum shop when I lived there. Now it's GC or nothing which is why I have to shop online. Interstate Music is the only place to get exactly what I want. They have killed the brick and mortar store though. They have almost every major brand that local store would never have. If I want a very particular size and model Zildjian I can only get it online. No shop would have it or order it without added cost. It sucks but that's the way it is. Even the chain of Office Supply stores I work for mentioned there will be a day when we will be irrelevant. "We need to get customers to shop online. But come to the store where we shop for them on our kiosk and they pay for it in store, not shop at home on their internet.." Whaaaat?!? It is sad.
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Old 05-13-2013, 08:41 PM
Otto Otto is offline
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

I cant imagine buying cymbals via internet....to much variation in them within production runs let alone between them.
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  #16  
Old 05-13-2013, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Just got back from Northern California for a cousin's wedding up in wine country. Managed to swing by The Starving Musician in Berkeley, CA, great shop with a very nice selection of cymbals. I got to try a Zildjian K complex dry ride, just the name is fun to say. Didn't have the scratch for a new ride but I did treat myself to some new brushes.
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  #17  
Old 05-13-2013, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

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Originally Posted by Otto View Post
I cant imagine buying cymbals via internet....to much variation in them within production runs let alone between them.
What if your only local alternative was Stagg, B8, and other student cymbals? You'd have to learn to work with internet companies that offer good quality sound samples of the exact cymbal you are buying, or never purchase a high-end cymbal. At least, that's what I have done and it has worked out pretty well.
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  #18  
Old 05-13-2013, 09:12 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

My first real job was working in a drum shop, so it's a place dear to my heart. But yes, very few exist anymore. It's certainly weird living in one of the music capitols of the world and not having much in the way of drum shops anymore. And outside of Pro-Drum, we really don't have much in the way of independent music stores period.

The music retail store has so many fronts to fight:

The Internet is one factor. So many online "stores" are nothing more than a guy with a small warehouse and a computer, who drop ships any large, so he has near zero overhead expenses when compared to a brick-and-mortar store.

The war between Guitar Center and Sam Ash is another. For years, both companies existed in separate geographical regions. But then GC opened a location in Sam Ash territory, so Sam Ash open a store in GC territory and then an all out turf war broke out, driving down prices, and kicking aside the small retailer in the process.

The new twist is smaller manufactures selling direct. Now we have dozens of small cymbal companies that will offer to call you an "endorser' if you buy a full set of cymbals, or other such arrangements. A retail drum shop has little answer for such a deal, but such deals do impact the sales of cymbals, which are a staple of any drum shop staying in business.

And outside of that, it's just a different time. A young adult today doesn't remember life before the internet. Buying online isn't a new thing, it's the standard thing. Getting youtube famous isn't a new trend, it's the way it is.
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Old 05-13-2013, 11:16 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

I think this is happening because the stores are forced to buy product before they can sell it. My understanding is that the manufacturers used to front the product to the store and get paid after the store sold the product. That way the shops could have a nice large selection without having to invest a lot of money. Now that they have to pay for everything on the floor first they have been forced to lower their inventory. I blame this business model for the current situation. I think most of us would rather buy local, but if the store has to special order the item we may as well get it online. What are the manufactures going to do when there are no local stores for people to go to, get hands on with the instrument, make up their minds that that is what they want......... and then go order online?
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Old 05-14-2013, 12:02 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

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Originally Posted by ocdrums View Post
I think this is happening because the stores are forced to buy product before they can sell it. My understanding is that the manufacturers used to front the product to the store and get paid after the store sold the product. That way the shops could have a nice large selection without having to invest a lot of money. Now that they have to pay for everything on the floor first they have been forced to lower their inventory.
Not true.

Stores have always had to buy the gear first. Retail stores are usually given terms (usually 30 days) before they have to pay for it, to give the stores a chance to sell said item before paying for it. This is standard business practice, in almost every retail environment.

That hasn't changed over time. If anything, it's gotten better. I remember when DW was such a small company, they didn't give terms, and only sold C.O.D. (cash on demand). In the late 80's this made it difficult for any store to stock a DW kit.

However, if a retailer gets into financial trouble and can not pay the bills, manufactures and whole salers can stop selling on terms and require upfront payments. Although that is no different than an individual who has their credit cards taken away because they keep missing their payments and has to pay for items at a store in cash.

As we've moved through this recession, I am sure many stores missed payments and had their credit revoked. On the opposite end, Fender (who owns KMS that owns Gibraltar, Latin Percussion, Toca and much of Gretsch) had their IPO pulled because they are owned millions on merchandise shipped to stores that they have yet to be paid for (oddly enough, Guitar Center being the main culprit).
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  #21  
Old 05-14-2013, 12:05 AM
AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken AllTheCoolNamesAreTaken is offline
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

I really hate that those big Internet book stores are stealing all the business from the mom and pop shops!

<a few years later>

I really hate that e-readers are stealing all the business from the online book stores!

Progress both sucks and rules. And while I feel bad, sometimes, for not buying all my drum stuff from my local store, my local store has incredibly high prices. I can get drum heads for half the price online, and I have no need to 'test' a drum head in person to decide if I want it. It's the same reason I don't take my car to the dealer for an oil change.

I do agree that buying cymbals online is risky. Even with the modern trend of making a YouTube video or MP3, a cymbal's sound depends on so many factors (including which stick is used in the recording) that you're better off spending a bit more and buying them in person.

My rule is: if the local store has it at the same price as the online store (or cheaper, although this is rare), I buy local. Otherwise if I don't need to try before buy I just find the cheapest online retailer.

That's the world we live in.
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Old 05-14-2013, 09:47 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

It's a plot by Paiste because they are the only ones who's cymbals sound ultra consistent from one to another of the same model!!


I kid.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

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It's a plot by Paiste because they are the only ones who's cymbals sound ultra consistent from one to another of the same model!!


I kid.
I almost didn't see the "I kid", lol. In my opinion Paiste Is much more consistent in their manufacturing process than the other two big boys in the market, but I would never use the word Ultra for any of them.

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  #24  
Old 05-14-2013, 11:27 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

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Originally Posted by DrumEatDrum View Post
(oddly enough, Guitar Center being the main culprit).
I read an article on this a few months back.

GC was recently acquired in a leveraged buyout, a transaction where the buyer
borrows most of the funds for the purchase and then transfers the debt
to the company they just bought - I kinda despise LB's because of this.

As a result GC is in desperate straights, near bankruptcy,
most of their massive income is required to service the debt.
They are trying to grow their way out of it however by building more stores,
which unfortunately is a capital expense, increasing debt still more.

If they go chapter 11, and the press piece suggested it should be
happening around nowish, the repercussions to manufacturers
will be large, since many of them are sitting on huge accounts receivable
from GC that they would have to write off.

Edit: probably should have mentioned the article was posted here too. :-)

Last edited by kurth83; 05-15-2013 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 05-14-2013, 11:48 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

For some reason (which the experts on here may know the answer to) cymbal prices seem to be comparable in the retail stores as they are online. My independent local shop has given me some great deals on new cymbals. Better than even some of the well known online places. Drums are a different story. Shops can't compare with online for the most part.

So I've just decided to buy all cymbals in at the shop.
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  #26  
Old 05-15-2013, 12:01 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

I'd love to take a drive up to Philly Drums sometime when I have some cash to spend and a buddy to tag along.

Right now I'm using Sam Ash, which is still an annoying drive. The best thing I can say about them is occasionally they get some great used cymbals. I was eyeing a nice Bosphorus ride last time I was there, and it was real cheap. Gotta save up, though.

The closest thing to me is a George's Music with a great crew but almost no drum gear. I just go there for sticks and maybe heads, but they don't have too many. They mainly have odds and ends like practice pads and cymbal felts. It's really a nice shop, though. I ordered some pairs of Vater Nudes from them because I just don't like being in that Sam Ash and I wanted to give them my business. Anyway, now they stock those same pair sticks, and I come in every now and again to pick 'em up. Fantastic.

They do have lots of guitars, and I know we have some multi-instrumentalists on the forum. If you're in the Philly/ King of Prussia area, seriously check them out.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:57 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

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Had a great drum store out here in Ca that closed a few years back called west coast drums, The place and the people were awesome. Bad economy and sign of the times via internet sales forced them to shut down after almost 40 years in business,,,,,sad!!
I was saddened to learn a few months ago that West Coast Drum shut down during my unplanned/unwanted hiatus from drumming. I used to go there all the time for sticks, heads, parts, hardware... the occasional cymbal... Joe, Darren, Scott, Charles.... wonder where they all ended up.

So I'm just sitting here waiting 2+ weeks for a Cascio Interstate Catalog instead...

Though we still have Jim's Music, which started in Irvine and is now in Tustin. Never got to know those guys too much, and they don't discount too well. This is why the internet will always win.
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Old 08-30-2013, 01:41 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

i was just gonna recommend the long island drum center since op was from NYC
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  #29  
Old 08-30-2013, 01:50 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

It's definitely a complex formula. Some shops thrive. Some don't. The ones that do just seem to do all the right things.....good location, impressive inventory, friendly staff, Internet presence, and the willingness to discount on large purchases. The last one isn't a total deal breaker for me. I'm just not the type to obsess over prices and discounts. If their prices are in line with everybody else, I will pay the asking price almost every time.
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Old 08-30-2013, 02:08 AM
AGiampa AGiampa is offline
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

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It's definitely a complex formula. Some shops thrive. Some don't. The ones that do just seem to do all the right things.....good location, impressive inventory, friendly staff, Internet presence, and the willingness to discount on large purchases. The last one isn't a total deal breaker for me. I'm just not the type to obsess over prices and discounts. If their prices are in line with everybody else, I will pay the asking price almost every time.
Oh of course, totally... but there are places that put the MSRP on things and get people to pay them because the customer doesn't know. Or they act like a paltry discount is hurting them or whatever, or they are doing you a massive favor.

If I need something *now* I'm going to go to a store. If I don't, I'm internetting it, probably. =)
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  #31  
Old 08-30-2013, 04:36 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Our community is very fortunate to have a 5 star drum shop, but it sometimes seems like
they are just barely holding on, in spite of a good in house supply and the ability to get things quick. Sadly, they aren't big on jazz rides. I drove to the Steve Maxwell's Drum Shop
in Naperville, IL (midwest Steve Maxwell's) and can only imagine how good the NYC store is.
I purchased 3 rides while drooling over all the fantastic things I couldn't buy but lusted for.
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  #32  
Old 08-30-2013, 04:47 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

The circle of life. Nothing is forever, including iconic drum chain stores like Drum City / Billy Hydes / Allens in Australia. It's a new time where music is less front and centre and electronics and sequencing has an increasingly prominent role.

It's a shame. I love huge drum shops.
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  #33  
Old 08-30-2013, 06:39 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

As a manager in a large MI retail store, I can tell everyone out there that the secret has a lot to do with creating desire for the customer and being able to adapt quickly.

SOme smaller stores who are doing well quite possibly owe their success (knowingly or not) to the fact that they may have a particular retail angle that customers identify with.

There are no hard and fast rules to go by in retail, but there are guidelines. How those are applied is where success or failure comes into it.

A lot should also be said for stores who try to grow too big, too quickly!
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Old 08-30-2013, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

I recently had the pleasure of checking out Vic's Drum Shop in Chicago. That was a sweet drum shop with dedicated rooms for cymbals, hardware, sets, and snares. It was just mind-boggling. I spent an hour in the cymbal room just trying out stuff. I finally got to play and hear Matt Nolan cymbals, Murat Diril, UFIP, Hammerax, Crescent, etc.,...

And the employees set out 3 stands for me, gave me a couple different sets of sticks, and left me there to play them. There was no weirdness about taking them off the display or playing them nice and loud. It was a great place.
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  #35  
Old 08-31-2013, 08:46 AM
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Default Re: The death of retail music stores

Eand, you should email the store and let them know that theyre doing things right. Not enough good experiences from customer to retailer get shared.
It be a massive morale booster for them, and lets them know how to fine tune and improve their service standard even further.
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