Mom and Pop vs the big box

synergy

Senior Member
Does anyone else have this issue,

I have 3 Mom and Pop stores in my area and 1 Guiter center , I always want to give my business to the Mom and Pop when I can.

However 2 out of the 3 stores are just terrible. Poor selection, terrible service- to the point I refuse to go in both of them, they have really lost my business.

The one remaining mom and pop- Cadence Drums is fantastic and I will always choose to spend money here, however its on the complete opposite side of town and often with my work schedule their hours dont work for me.

So I'm left dealing with GC because a: thier open and b: I dont use a tank of gas to get there.


It really bothers me that the other 2 stores are so bad- I really want to spend my money there but I just cant because of my previous experience.

Does anyone else use GC etc because your local M&P's are so bad?
 

bermuda

Drummerworld Pro Drummer - Administrator
Staff member
Sadly, in L.A. of all places, many of the independent stores have disappeared. Partly due to the economy, and partly internet sales have crippled those stores. But a few survive, and they do so by having the right products at the right price. It's a simple business model that transcends whether there's a GC next door, or the economy's in a slump. And I like to support those shops as much as proximity permits. But I won't drive 40 minutes to Pro Drum to get a pack of rods, when there's a GC 5 minutes down the street. And I can't support a shop that doesn't have what I need, or doesn't make some effort to be competitive. They don't have to beat internet pricing, but give me something so I'm not tempted to go to GC or Sam Ash (there's one of those just 10 minutes from me.)

For the most part, shops that go under have done it to themselves by being stubborn and inflexible. I know that it's not possible to carry every item, and sit back and wait for the customers to roll in... there'd be too much money tied up in inventory, and an independent shop usually doesn't have the funds. But some of the shops didn't even try.

I hate to see our choices being limited, or employees lose their jobs, but some of these shops could have managed their looming demise better, and probably survived. There are plenty of independents thriving right now, it can't be that hard.

With regard to GC helping to put the small guy out of business, I don't believe that's the case as much as musicians tend to perceive. Box store pricing isn't that great, and indies that want to stay in business can easily compete pricewise, not to mention with other benefits that GC just can't deliver. And yes, musicians do know the difference and appreciate it.

Bermuda
 

xsarith

Senior Member
we dont have GC over here in the UK, I think the closest that comes to that is GAK (Guitar Amp Keyboard) and I do sometimes use them but I try my best not to through as I would rather spend it in the smaller shops, however they have a lot of stock that my local shops don't have.

there is 3 main shops here, one focuses on 'traditional' music (eg piano, sax) the other is more rock orientated (guitar, bass, drums) and then there is just a drum store.

obviously the first doesn't really help me at all since there isn't any drum in the store at all.

the 2nd store I love, the service there is great and i always check there for what I'm looking for before I buy, they usually special order things in when I ask, but there usually more expensive, I don't mind a bit extra to support the store, but having no actual income at all, I cant always support the store.

The 3rd store which is drums only I steer clear of. I have had many past experiences asking for help with things back when I was a younger drummer, and which they just pretty much conned me each time, knowing what I know now I wouldn't have bought anything from them.

But overall the 2nd store (Baddog music) has the greatest customer service I have ever seen, happily giving spare parts like felts and sleeves to people who ask and will ofter give a discount on certain gear (usually whats been there a while) if you dont have enough. if I can buy from there I'll usually go to the smaller online retailers before going to GAK.
 

DrumEatDrum

Platinum Member
I'd have to drive by multiple GC and Sam Ash locations to get to my nearest independent.

If I'm after something special, it's worth it. But if I just need a drum head or something simple, it's really not worth driving across town for. Sad though. I got my start working in a small independent drum shop, but it doesn't seem as many exist anymore.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Have you tried an honest conversation with the owners of the Mom and Pop stores to let them know how you feel? Tell them how you'd like to support them but find it difficult with their issues.
 

groove1

Silver Member
Unfortunately, the Mom and Pop stores don't get the same service from the manufacturers
as do larger purchasers of their products. Example: buy an item from a Mom and Pop
store that is under a warranty and has some defect....the Mom and Pop store may wait
several months to get the part etc while a Big Chain often just swaps it out for one they have
in stock, no questions. Big outfits get volume discounts when they buy that small shops
can't compete with...and then there is competition with purchases from the internet etc.
Mom and Pop stores will always be around for some things but just look at all the Mom and
Pop Television stores that thrived in the 50's into the late 70's, early 80's....not many left
now.
 
I work for a mom and pop music organization.
Sadly, I can tell you that the small stuff that you guys pass on is what adds up in sales totals. It's not just the big stuff.
Now, you can't give bad service either. That's the bottom line. The other issue is that if a customer uses something, you stock it. Simple. If some guy wants the most "outlandish" stick, and he's buying them, they are stocked.
Make customers happy. In my experience after a simple conversation of "Hey man, I noticed you don't sell Head X and Stick B" if I say "I will keep them stocked for you" it adds a little boost to that customer. They will come to me because I stock(*for them) what they play.
 

synergy

Senior Member
One of them is on 2 levels with the drums in the basement,

when I first walked in I heard someone moving something at the back of the store, went downstairs to find about 5 kits set up 3 cymbals in a corner and some other misc stuff in cabinets...

Again noise coming from another room where someone was moving boxes around,

I walked back out again without speaking to anyone or indeed seeing anyone actually in person!
 

synergy

Senior Member
I'm not against the M&P- like I said its my choice over the big box,

I know one of the stores seems to rely heavily on the school system etc- making little Jimmy 'rent' his instrument etc and luckily we have set up a nice deal with this music shop etc...

Great for them in that regards but it seems in this case they dont really care to cater for anything outside of that
 

T-rex

Member
There used to be a great drum store here where I bought everything, but it is long gone. Now the parent store is pretty much nothing but a glorified teaching studio with a bunch of beginner instruments. When I was on the hunt for a new set of cymbals I had to go the internet cymbalsonly/memphis drum shop route. It sucked not being able to actually play the cymbals before buying although I will say what I got is indeed what I heard on line so it worked out. But I really miss the days of dealing with a human being and playing the product. I had a great relationship with them and traded in and up kit after kit over the years through them.

Buying anything from the local Guitarget is like an experiment in masochism. If I want a head or something that day, they are pretty much the only game in town and it is mind numbing dealing with anyone in the drum department. I see them going the way of Best Buy eventually and becoming a showroom for people to play instruments, only to turn around an buy them cheaper on line.

Bottom line, I like to support businesses that give me a good combination of value and service. If that is a big box, I am fine with that. If that is a mom and pop that's even better - but I wouldn't go out of my way to support a mom and pop if they have terrible service just because they are local.
 

Axe

Senior Member
i go to that drum shop in harrisburg, its a 90 min drive for me, but if i want a higher end kit, gc doesnt carry that stuff. all the big boxes usually have is a bunch of entry/intermediate stuff. regardless, the selection is amazing and the staff is always super cool, so unless all i need is sticks/heads, im making the drive out west.
 

BacteriumFendYoke

Platinum Member
we dont have GC over here in the UK, I think the closest that comes to that is GAK (Guitar Amp Keyboard) and I do sometimes use them but I try my best not to through as I would rather spend it in the smaller shops, however they have a lot of stock that my local shops don't have.

there is 3 main shops here, one focuses on 'traditional' music (eg piano, sax) the other is more rock orientated (guitar, bass, drums) and then there is just a drum store.

obviously the first doesn't really help me at all since there isn't any drum in the store at all.

the 2nd store I love, the service there is great and i always check there for what I'm looking for before I buy, they usually special order things in when I ask, but there usually more expensive, I don't mind a bit extra to support the store, but having no actual income at all, I cant always support the store.

The 3rd store which is drums only I steer clear of. I have had many past experiences asking for help with things back when I was a younger drummer, and which they just pretty much conned me each time, knowing what I know now I wouldn't have bought anything from them.

But overall the 2nd store (Baddog music) has the greatest customer service I have ever seen, happily giving spare parts like felts and sleeves to people who ask and will ofter give a discount on certain gear (usually whats been there a while) if you dont have enough. if I can buy from there I'll usually go to the smaller online retailers before going to GAK.
Living a couple of hours from Brighton, I've been to GAK a number of times. Bought quite a few things from them - acoustic guitar pickup, my Stratocaster, numerous drum pieces. I have a friend in Brighton and we wander around there quite often.

I would contest your view that GAK is like Guitar Center. The online store has a big selection (it's actually run as a separate business) but the bricks-and-mortar stores are smaller than expected. A lot of choice, very knowledgable staff and decent pricing.

What we don't have in the UK is any dominant chain. We have small chains but none of them are nationwide and only tend to consist of two or three shops at the most. In a way, we're spoilt for choice in smaller stores if you find one you like. My personal recommendations go to Dawson's in Manchester, GAK in Brighton, Promenade Music in Morecambe (which I spent a lot of time at when I lived in Lancaster) and Mid-Air Music in Chatham/Gillingham (it borders both). All of them are mostly general music stores but I like them a lot and have had excellent service at all of them. Admittedly, they're not what would be referred to as 'Mom and Pop' stores - Dawson's and GAK in particular are big - but there is decent competition in the marketplace if you go to the right places.

If you want reasonable prices, never shop in Denmark Street. If you want to drool, however...
 

StickIt

Senior Member
Well, I don't have that problem per se'...My "local" m&p is about 40 miles away, and the nearest big-box is another 35 miles. So, my m&p is closer, but is still hard for me to get to after work!

The people who work there, however, are very helpful, and I prefer to buy from them...they also carry a pretty wide range of brands, and get a fair amount of gently used stuff at a good price, mostly from the college kids. Downside? Definitely a bit more expensive. I do find myself ordering some hardware and whatnot online. I always buy sticks, heads, and used hardware/cymbals there, though, and it helps me to feel better about it all. I like supporting the local economy and the local musicians who work there, but not to the complete obliteration of my wallet!
 
A

audiotech

Guest
i go to that drum shop in harrisburg, its a 90 min drive for me, but if i want a higher end kit, gc doesnt carry that stuff. all the big boxes usually have is a bunch of entry/intermediate stuff. regardless, the selection is amazing and the staff is always super cool, so unless all i need is sticks/heads, im making the drive out west.
If you're talking about Dales Five Star shop, I use to go there regularly until they moved their high end drum equipment downstairs and piled them up on their shelves instead of being neatly display as entire kits as they were up stairs. Now it's a bit difficult to tell one from the other 25 feet away. Sure, they'll get a kit down for closer inspection, but I like to closely inspect about a dozen of them when I go there. ;)

It just too bad, some changes are good, others, not so much.

Dennis
 

Andy

Administrator
Staff member
I work for a mom and pop music organization.
Sadly, I can tell you that the small stuff that you guys pass on is what adds up in sales totals. It's not just the big stuff.
Now, you can't give bad service either. That's the bottom line. The other issue is that if a customer uses something, you stock it. Simple. If some guy wants the most "outlandish" stick, and he's buying them, they are stocked.
Make customers happy. In my experience after a simple conversation of "Hey man, I noticed you don't sell Head X and Stick B" if I say "I will keep them stocked for you" it adds a little boost to that customer. They will come to me because I stock(*for them) what they play.
A very good post straight from the "coal face". Indeed, most smaller independents stock what the customer asks for. It's a service angle with considerable personal value. The bigger stores stock whatever sells in volume, & they can get a deal on. That equates to very little choice in the system. With only a few notable exceptions, that means if it doesn't sell in numbers, or if customers don't ask for it, it isn't offered. Against that background, is it any wonder that many makers are turning to the internet as their shop window?
 

Funk

Member
i worked for GC for two months when i moved back to houston from dallas and couldn't transfer my old job (the hotel biz)… super crappy company to work for, i'm back in with marriott now, once they had an opening near me i just quit… and houston has tons of independent stores to choose from, i have long since boycotted GC… i won't go into the details unless someone wants to know, but i will never work or shop there again!
 

xsarith

Senior Member
Living a couple of hours from Brighton, I've been to GAK a number of times. Bought quite a few things from them - acoustic guitar pickup, my Stratocaster, numerous drum pieces. I have a friend in Brighton and we wander around there quite often.

I would contest your view that GAK is like Guitar Center. The online store has a big selection (it's actually run as a separate business) but the bricks-and-mortar stores are smaller than expected. A lot of choice, very knowledgable staff and decent pricing.

What we don't have in the UK is any dominant chain. We have small chains but none of them are nationwide and only tend to consist of two or three shops at the most. In a way, we're spoilt for choice in smaller stores if you find one you like. My personal recommendations go to Dawson's in Manchester, GAK in Brighton, Promenade Music in Morecambe (which I spent a lot of time at when I lived in Lancaster) and Mid-Air Music in Chatham/Gillingham (it borders both). All of them are mostly general music stores but I like them a lot and have had excellent service at all of them. Admittedly, they're not what would be referred to as 'Mom and Pop' stores - Dawson's and GAK in particular are big - but there is decent competition in the marketplace if you go to the right places.

If you want reasonable prices, never shop in Denmark Street. If you want to drool, however...
I think you say have mis-read when I said the closest we have to GC is GAK, like you said there isn't a dominant chain but GAK is most likely the most well known store, also I believe the largest too. I have only dealt with the online/telephone section of GAK which I have had bad experiences with but it has always been sorted in the end, usually a week or more though, I think the longest was a month. I hope that the brick and mortar stores are different and I would love to visit them one time, especially if they have knowledgeable staff, and its pretty obvious that they have decent pricing. Since I live all the way in Hull its not exactly a bike ride away, so I'm forced to use the online section and it doesn't surprise me its ran separately.

Dawsons is another place I've shopped from, I did quite like there customer service, the others however I have never bought from but have been on their sites. For drum stuff I will usually shop at a drum orientated store if my local store doesn't have it or is too costly.

I would Like to add RockemMusic to that list, while its quite obvious they aim 10-25 category, they do stock a lot of high end gear too, I've always had a fast delivery and good service from them, the only thing I don't like is the ridiculous postage cost on some items.
 

wildbill

Platinum Member
i worked for GC for two months when i moved back to houston from dallas and couldn't transfer my old job (the hotel biz)… super crappy company to work for, i'm back in with marriott now, once they had an opening near me i just quit… and houston has tons of independent stores to choose from, i have long since boycotted GC… i won't go into the details unless someone wants to know, but i will never work or shop there again!

Without giving details, or at least one example, saying a company is 'super crappy' just sounds like name calling.
 
T

The Old Hyde

Guest
synergy, if you like the small store so much, support them. how many times do you need to go to a music store anyway?? if its a long drive whats the big deal once in a great while?
 
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