Limited store space

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
I have a hypothetical question I want to ask about a store's space.

Assume a drum store is just starting out and wants to get established and make sure they are profitable before expanding, and with all that has been said about GC and the other chain music stores not carrying a lot of drum inventory, would you:

1) like to see a lot of drums and drum kits on the floor and on the shelves - as much a variety of different brands of kits and single drums - snares, toms, bass drums, as can be stocked, or,

2) see a larger variety of different brands of sticks, cymbals, drum heads, stands, holders, generic equipment, and percussion instruments, etc. and different brands of drum kits like Ludwig, Gretsch, Mapex, DW, Tama, Pearl, but only in limited quantities?

Put another way, is it more of a pain to find the exact drum heads or sticks or cymbals you are looking for, or drum kits? How often do you buy drum kits as opposed to drum heads, sticks, cymbals, equipment and gear, etc?

Thanks!
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Are you starting a store? If so...good luck with THAT!

It would be good to make sure that the "essentials" are always in stock (14" coated ambassadors and snare-side heads, Ludwig Supraphonics, a variety of Vic Firth sticks, beginner cymbal packs, drum thrones, etc...). The worst thing a drum store can do is shoot itself in the foot by not stocking something that they should ALWAYS have on hand...word of mouth will spread ("Aw, man...I went in to their store for a snare head, and they were OUT! Can you believe it?!?!?!?")

Other than that, have as much variety of inventory as you can, and be knowledgeable about it. It would be nice for a drummer to be able to compare different makes/models, and ask questions of the staff about them.

Also, something that more and more stores are getting hip to, which is a GREAT source of revenue and a way to increase your traffic from repeat customers is a used/consignment section of the store. There will be "devoted" customers who stop by every so often just to see if there's any great deals to be had, or anything wacky and out of the ordinary that they couldn't find elsewhere.

Also, watching what has the shortest shelf life, or even asking the clientele what THEY want to see stocked in the store. I told my local drum shop that I'd send my students to his store if he kept a specific book in stock that GC didn't carry. Next time I went in, he had 5 copies on hand, and I kept my end of the bargain. I think he ended up selling, like, 35 copies or so in the end. Unfortunately, his shop fell prey to GC's ability to sell product for less than he could stock it for. HUGE bummer, but what are you gonna do...?

So, to answer your questions:

1. Yes
2. Yes

A drummer starting a drum store should ask themselves what THEY would like to see stocked in the store, and start from there. Don't try to guess what the general population wants to see in the store...ASK them, and go from there!
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
Thanks, Caddy!

The thought of opening up a drum shop has crossed my mind more than once. From when I was 12 years old and frustrated by music stores that never carried reso heads and learning materials to my age now - 49 and PO'd at the lack of availabilty of different brands of cymbals in my town. GC only carries low end Sabians, Zildjians, and a few Paiste's.

In my spare time I've been gathering reaearch and data from many places, including DW, and putting that in a business plan. In my city, Fort Worth, there is a serious lack of drum and drumming retail outlets within a 30 mile radius. If I wanted to find a independently owned drum shop that specialiezed ONLY in drums that had a knowledgeable sales staff, I'd have to drive to Dallas which is a good 30 miles away.

So......
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
Nice! Well, I'd be glad to offer any opinions on questions you have on the matter, 'cause I've been thinking (in the back of my mind) about opening my OWN shop here in Portland as well. I've been keeping an eye on what works and what doesn't for all of the local Portland shops. But before I do that, I've got to clear my schedule of all of these pesky gigs...
 

Travis22

Senior Member
If it has to be one or the other, I would say more cymbals and hardware type things and less drum kits. If I were looking for a drum kit it's not because I need it right this second, where as with cymbals, heads, and sticks I'm always in a need for those. Drums a person can order and wait on for 2-6 weeks if needed, but a broken head just won't do if you have a gig that night.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
I am more interested in number 2. I want heads sticks etc in variety falling out of the door. No one buys drum sets that often, and to have to wait a few monthes is part of the game. I get very frustrated when I go to the Mom and Pop to buy new heads and they have three of the four I need. One drum set of various makes is fine. I can play and tune etc, and pick a color from a book. I don't need 5 Gretsch Renown sets sitting on the floor just to see color. Show me 4 Evans Coated G2 in 8, 10, 12, and 14 and 4 clear G1 in 8, 10, 12, and 14 and a few HD dry snare heads and I am a happy camper.
 
T

TFITTING942

Guest
Yeah, don't ignore trade- ins and used stuff.
It's always fun to look at a huge selection of kits but your correct about how often we each buy one. Keep all the little essentials in stock at all times.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
I was also thinking of the used gear, trade-ins, consignment items, etc. Miscellaneous parts and such. For example, if a drum is too damaged to use the shell, dismantle the drum and keep the hardware. Someone will always be able to use it.

Stock plenty of washers, felts, Moon gels, etc. All the little parts that are always needed.

It would also be a good revenue stream to actually have the equipment to re-cut bearing edges and re-wrap drums. Not sure if I'd want to load up on all the equipment to make drums, but the bearing edge and rewrap service may be a good service to offer.

In addition to all that has been said, it would be nice to have dedent facilities to actually be able to offer drum lessons and drum set lessons. Maybe mallet percussion as well. With three universities close by that offer music programs, I'm sure music students, graduates, or professors may want or need a decent facility to teach. The store would take a percentage of the instructor's fee.

I remember when I was in junior high, I took lessons from a music store and the room was about the size of a closet. Just enough space for an instructor, student, two chairs, and a snare drum. It'd be nice to have a larger room set up for two drum sets, one for the instructor and one for the student.
 

azrae1l

Silver Member
it would be cool to have a 10" tom from each of the major manufactures various lines on a wall, be able to go threw and look at construction, bearing edges, actually feel them, give each one a tap. i don't think you need a kit set up but it would be a small taste of whats available. same with the snares, not every single snare but a few of the more popular ones and a few higher end ones, kinda stagger a certain number for each quality range...

but if i had to choose a healthy selection of heads and cymbals. i thnk thats what most of the music stores lack around here. most only carry beginners cymbal packs and a few heads, your lucky to get a full set of one kind
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
With a lesson space set up, that means more rent. Make sure the benefits of the extra space outweigh the costs.

I like the 10" tom from each manufacturer idea. Also, snares are cymbals are great. But, make sure you keep some product in hand that moves quickly, like beginner cymbal packs and coated ambassadors...
 

azrae1l

Silver Member
had another thought. every time i go into the local store i see the exact same things over and over again. rotating stock would be cool, like when a snare sells instead of reordering the same snare to fill the hole you would order a whole new different kiind of snare, same with cymbals. that way when regulars come in they'll always have fresh things to look at and buy.

but yeah caddy is right, you would always have to carry and keep a stock of beginners kits, cymbals and all that cuz that's what moves the fastest but don't neglect the more "tastefull" customers in the process....
 

Red Menace

Platinum Member
What I love about non-chain music stores is the eclectic selections of used and odd gear. Sam Ash and GC never seem to have the odd bits of hardware that I need. Also I love seeing vintage gear, I'd love to find a shop here that sells vintage gear.
 

Pocket-full-of-gold

Platinum Member
rotating stock would be cool, like when a snare sells instead of reordering the same snare to fill the hole you would order a whole new different kiind of snare, same with cymbals. that way when regulars come in they'll always have fresh things to look at and buy.
I see your point, but the only thing I can add from a sales point of view is......if you're on to a good thing....stick with it.

If you find a product that shifts, then keep loading up. The aim of a retailer is to sell, after all. :)
 

azrae1l

Silver Member
I see your point, but the only thing I can add from a sales point of view is......if you're on to a good thing....stick with it.

If you find a product that shifts, then keep loading up. The aim of a retailer is to sell, after all. :)
that works for hot sellers yeah and the old stand buys as well as the lower end beginner stock. but when you have a store carrying upper end stuff at a bigger price tag those items could be sitting there for a couple of months before it gets sold. it could still be a sought after item but a lot of people can't afford them so they sit and wait. when that item sells even though you know eventually somebody else will buy one i think i'd rather have something different for the next guy and keep it constantly rotating.

really i was only thinking the higher end stuff for the more discerning drummers, not the things you sell 10 of each day or week. of course you don't wanna rotate out your bread and butter items...
 

Toad

Member
#2

I agree with all that's been said so far.

From a customer perspective, what I like in a store is...
To go in and see in person something I saw in a catalog or on the www, and the store has what I expect them to (within reason) in stock.

That means a wide, full selection. Mainly I mean accessories and the expendable items like heads and sticks. If I need to come up with some weird clamping arrangement for example, I want to see a few different clamps. They shouldn't be out of sticks or heads. If I want a 12", 13", 16" and 18" Powerstoke 3's coated or whatever, they should have that. If I want 2b nylon tip hickory sticks they should have that.

As far as drum sets go, I like to see the less expensive sets along with the more expensive ones... so everybody (all budgets) can afford to buy or justify buying the drum set. That way the person actually gets a set.

If somebody has a special request and it's within your power, you can do it. For example a person wants a certain drum set but in a different configuration or with a different size tom. You can get what you need (if it's possible) and do that for him.

Well, I was just thinking of stuff that bugs me when I go to the music store, and any kind of store.
 
D

DSCRAPRE

Guest
I always thought it would be nice for shops to carry low-priced cymbals from non-big 3 manufacturers. Like Wuhans Traditionals. All the locally owned shops just have a bunch of ZBTs and B8s. Beginners should be able to skip right past that crap, if they can afford to. Unfortunately, Zildjian does a good job of convincing kids that [insert current cool drummer here] really uses their cheapest line. I don't see why these kids have to be lied to right off the bat.

Also 100% agree on the used stuff.
 

caddywumpus

Platinum Member
had another thought. every time i go into the local store i see the exact same things over and over again. rotating stock would be cool, like when a snare sells instead of reordering the same snare to fill the hole you would order a whole new different kiind of snare, same with cymbals. that way when regulars come in they'll always have fresh things to look at and buy.
You never know if the snare that sold will be the only one of that model you'll ever sell. You never know if you caught just the right buyer on just the right day. There are certain models that are "staples", like the Supraphonic and Pearl Free-Floater, but make sure that you stock snares that YOU are jonesing for, or can justify carrying them for the cost. Carry a couple of those beginner crappy snares, but keep 'em stocked in the back, for when the parent of a 6th grader comes in to buy a snare for their kid for band class and wants something cheap. Also, offer a "nicer" cheap snare, like the Yamaha Steel snare. Then, carry stuff that YOU would want, like Brady snares, DWs, whatever. If you are excited about having it in the store, then that excitement will come out as you talk about it with customers...

but yeah caddy is right, you would always have to carry and keep a stock of beginners kits, cymbals and all that cuz that's what moves the fastest but don't neglect the more "tastefull" customers in the process....
Bingo! Just don't let the "beginner" stuff seem like the focus of your store. It moves quick, but you want to have it "as an option", with the push of the store being more quality merchandise. That way, even the customers coming in for a beginner's set up will be quite aware that there is "better" gear to strive for in the future (that equals a potential return visit for you...)
 

Soupy

Silver Member
I love stores that have fully accurate computerized inventory on their web site. I want to click and see if you have a S900 snare stand in stock, not to call, sit around on hold while the clerk dos what ever, ask my question, then wait another ten minutes while he rummages around the floor. Probably getting hung up on once or twice in the process.
 

rogue_drummer

Gold Member
True, Soupy. I think in this day and age, it's almost a requirement for doing good business. At least a computerized inventory system where the clerk can rapidly tell you if they have it or not in stock right then. And those systems are faily inexpensive now.

It used to be really agrivating when I was a young drum student, still too young to drive, for my parents and me to drive across town to a music store AFTER having called and checked to see if they have a particular item in stock, to get there and find out they are really out of stock. Eitter the clerk was too lazy to look and just said they have it, or their inventory system was messed up or someone came in and bought it 30 minutes after I called.
 
Top