Largest big box retailer in the U.S.

Masecar

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Guitar Center is pretty huge. I worked at the small Boston location (helped open the store after Daddy's got stolen from us) and they could get most anything. We opened that store with three Custom Shop Gibson L-5s ($30k each) and GC was totally rumored to be bankrupt. Bain Capital is just bankrolling the company by what I can tell. I bought a guitar at cost and financed it interest free, so I did my small part to bring them down.
 

wayne

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Retail sales is what drives our economy. Drummers circle chats over a latte in the store will just not support their business any longer. I grew up in the cigar smoke filled drum shops, rooting around piles of old hardware and cymbals in search of a gold nugget, and sometimes i found a few, quite a few.
Rent however was not in the 1000,s for a modest size store per month like these days, so we could sit around and smoke a j...or a cigar and talk about our passion.
Its about stock and having what you want, now, not what they can order. We have places to be!!
Its sad to see what our tiny piece of the music biz has become, but we could see it coming years ago.
 

Vistalite Black

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Good on Sweetwater for reaching the $1.1 billion mark.

According to Forbes, Guitar Center’s annual revenue exceeds $2.3 billion.
 

dje31

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I believe the original question related to the chain as a whole, re: "largest," though many of the GCs these days have gotten smaller.

If we're talking the size of the physical stores themselves, I recall Mars Music and some Sam Ash stores from the early '90s-2000s were pretty huge, with live stage setups on-prem. I believe the interwebs might have had something to do with their demise...
 

lossforgain

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Guitar Center is pretty huge. I worked at the small Boston location (helped open the store after Daddy's got stolen from us) and they could get most anything. We opened that store with three Custom Shop Gibson L-5s ($30k each) and GC was totally rumored to be bankrupt. Bain Capital is just bankrolling the company by what I can tell. I bought a guitar at cost and financed it interest free, so I did my small part to bring them down.
Once again, Bain Capital is not affiliated with GC anymore. They sold it to another company that treats it the same way. GC is a cow being squeezed for every last drop of milk until it dies.
 

gwbasley

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SA is the larger store in my area and there is a GC about a mile away. I go there to buy sticks and , when time is important, heads...they have a large selection. I like to weigh and roll sticks before I buy them and the small shops don't stock enough to give you many options.
 

Masecar

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Once again, Bain Capital is not affiliated with GC anymore. They sold it to another company that treats it the same way. GC is a cow being squeezed for every last drop of milk until it dies.
Ah I was not aware that the company had been sold. I haven't really been paying attention; the new holder is Ares management (who made the purchase back in 2014), who seem to be in it for the real estate holdings.
 

slow larry

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GC has quietly moved into the dominant position in "School Band" type stores. Places that sell and repair low end horns and woodwinds, have lessons available etc. The place the the band director tells your parents to go to get your practice pad and flatbell set when you were in the 5th grade. GC owns most of these now through subsidiaries.
 

ARGuy

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GC has quietly moved into the dominant position in "School Band" type stores. Places that sell and repair low end horns and woodwinds, have lessons available etc. The place the the band director tells your parents to go to get your practice pad and flatbell set when you were in the 5th grade. GC owns most of these now through subsidiaries.
Guitar Center has owned Music and Arts since 2005, and their focus is the school band and orchestra market. Guitar Center is not dominant in the B & O market; they may be trying to squeeze a few bucks out of the market to stay afloat, but they are not taken seriously by the schools themselves. The mostly low end horns they are trying to sell would not be approved by the music teachers, so you'll be left with clueless parents who do nothing but read internet "reviews" online and think they're being clever.
 

moonbabie

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Drum Factory Direct gets most of my business. Local, super fast shipping and excellent service.

F
yes,I too have had good experiences with dfd. But how could you pass up those candy packets.
 

bpaluzzi

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SW is the next GC......
How so? I don't see _any_ similarities, except for the fact that they both sell musical instruments.

GC is a franchise operation with extremly high turnover, stocked with employees who know very little about the gear.
Sweetwater is the opposite on all fronts. Single store, long-term employees, and deep knowledge from their sales team (plus a MASSIVE tech support / troubleshooting / repair operation)
 

Vistalite Black

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Wal-Mart sells more in-a-box drum sets than any other retailer (by $ value and units). Same with guitars.
No other chain comes close.
D99F3AD6-8A04-4935-A7B5-A44D09FA2341.png
 

bpaluzzi

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Rich K.

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How so? I don't see _any_ similarities, except for the fact that they both sell musical instruments.

GC is a franchise operation with extremly high turnover, stocked with employees who know very little about the gear.
Sweetwater is the opposite on all fronts. Single store, long-term employees, and deep knowledge from their sales team (plus a MASSIVE tech support / troubleshooting / repair operation)
I don't think guitar center franchises.
 

Vistalite Black

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bpaluzzi

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You found data that shows Guitar Center has X.X% of the market!
Wal-Mart has 3,570 stores in the U.S. Guitar Center has 294.
Walmart.com is the world’s third largest internet retailer.
Wal-Mart sells more drums than anybody.
So is that a “no” for any data showing that they sell more drums than anyone? Or guitars?
 

lossforgain

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How so? I don't see _any_ similarities, except for the fact that they both sell musical instruments.

GC is a franchise operation with extremly high turnover, stocked with employees who know very little about the gear.
Sweetwater is the opposite on all fronts. Single store, long-term employees, and deep knowledge from their sales team (plus a MASSIVE tech support / troubleshooting / repair operation)
I know of at least one former GC “executive” working for SW. It has me concerned, knowing how things have gone at GC.
 


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