Strangely, Guitar Center (and Music and Arts) are opening in my city

Rich K.

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When I moved to Savannah about 8 years ago I was surprised in a market this size there was no Guitar Center.
There is a large, family owned music store here that also has a place in Augusta and I think they used to be in other Georgia locations as well. They have a seemingly large selection of guitars, drums, PAs etc. and they probably gave 80% or more of the area's band rentals and lessons. I have found them to be helpful and know the drum manager pretty well. They were never able to match online prices on larger purchases I made.
I was once told that GC never opened here because Fender and the others didn't want to offend a big customer, but I'm sure that was speculation.
So strangely, to me, they opened a Music and Arts store about a mile away from the local place, mainly for band rentals and lessons, and they just opened a Guitar Center literally next door to the local store. Seems like weird timing.
Many of the locals would complain about the local place and would say they wished we had a GC. Sometimes you have to be careful of what you wish for.
 

Tornado

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Many of the locals would complain about the local place and would say they wished we had a GC. Sometimes you have to be careful of what you wish for.
How bad do you have to be where your customers would rather shop at a GC?
 

Rich K.

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How bad do you have to be where your customers would rather shop at a GC?
I don't think most of the folks here had ever been to a Guitar Center. I also think that, before the internet, the local place was very high priced
 

lossforgain

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M&A has the band instrument thing down. They will probably do well with that section of the market. If the GC is like my local store, it won't impress anyone.
 

lossforgain

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Ironically, M&A is owned by GC.
Yes, that’s true. I worked for M&A when they were acquired. For several years after that I worked for them and they were mostly well run. GC corporate didn’t make decisions about how to run M&A. While I don’t know the situation today, I can say that GC was letting M&A do what they are good at because it was successful and profitable (lessons and rentals).
 

patrickwitherow

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I moved to Savannah in 1995. At the time we had the store that did most of the band rentals, etc. We have one where I currently live about an hour south of Savannah. They sold mostly Pearl, some Gretsch and and some other brands...maybe Crush? We eventually got a few smaller locally-owned music stores that had more of a boutique feel. Annie's Guitars (owned by Annie Allman relative of Gregg Allman) had a great selection of drums and guitars. Annie was a drummer so it was cool to talk shop with her. Rody's Music was our first dw dealer back in the early 2000's. It burned down though, and I remember they had a dw kit that survived the fire still in the shop after it re-opened. It smelled smokey! I got my first dw/Craviotto snare from Rody's back in 2001. It's interesting to see Guitar Center opening stores in this age of e-comm.
 

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Band instruments is a whole different ballgame because of the continual rotating crop of students.
 

yetanotherdrummer

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I don't think most of the folks here had ever been to a Guitar Center. I also think that, before the internet, the local place was very high priced
When I was young (back in the 1970's) we had one music store in town. And they charged full list price for Ludwig drums, the only brand they stocked. The idea of getting something for less than list price was unknown.
 

Tornado

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When I was young (back in the 1970's) we had one music store in town. And they charged full list price for Ludwig drums, the only brand they stocked. The idea of getting something for less than list price was unknown.
I found the receipt for the Acrolite my parents bought from the local music store in 1988 or 89. $425!
 

Deafmoon

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They both will put their best foot forward in the beginning upon opening. That said, GC will erode rather quickly with in-store stock. They have a very poor replenishment system and team, and a ridiculous “come in and place an order with us”, especially in Drums. I need to drive there to order? Cmon.
 

Rich K.

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When I was young (back in the 1970's) we had one music store in town. And they charged full list price for Ludwig drums, the only brand they stocked. The idea of getting something for less than list price was unknown.
Growing up in the NYC suburbs, everyplace gave 40% off list. I thought that was standard. Was surprised to learn years later than most places across the country paid list or close.
 

ARGuy

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Growing up in the NYC suburbs, everyplace gave 40% off list. I thought that was standard. Was surprised to learn years later than most places across the country paid list or close.
I think it was just as much when as where. In the 60's and 70's it was more possible for dealers to sell at list. In the late 70's and into the 80's you had the stores that printed catalogs and were willing to cut prices and make it up in volume. It was always possible to get a discount if you knew somebody or were somebody, i.e. the Professional Musicians discount.
 

VintageUSA

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When I was young (back in the 1970's) we had one music store in town. And they charged full list price for Ludwig drums, the only brand they stocked. The idea of getting something for less than list price was unknown.
ABSURD !
I could walk into my favorite music store in Dallas (during the 70s) and they would hand me a Ludwig catalog and price list and tell me they could get anything I wanted for 60% of list price.........took advantage of that many times.
 

Tornado

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ABSURD !
I could walk into my favorite music store in Dallas (during the 70s) and they would hand me a Ludwig catalog and price list and tell me they could get anything I wanted for 60% of list price.........took advantage of that many times.
It was a different story if you were in a small town with one music store. Lots of people just didn't know any better back then. Once we got hip to mail order catalogs, that changed, and now with the Internet, full retail is a thing of the past. Although, MAP has kind of taken the place of MSRP.
 

cplueard

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Yes, that’s true. I worked for M&A when they were acquired. For several years after that I worked for them and they were mostly well run. GC corporate didn’t make decisions about how to run M&A. While I don’t know the situation today, I can say that GC was letting M&A do what they are good at because it was successful and profitable (lessons and rentals).
Not the case anymore sadly. When they we acquired the original owners still had influence and input. It's now corporatized and mismanaged from top to bottom and they changed how they handle pay for lesson teachers to really put them over a barrel compared to before. I left teaching there because of how poorly they handled the Covid situation and forced their losses in revenue onto the ground level employees and teachers (middle and upper management were just fine though).

@Rich K. They might be opening near you for contracted reasons. I know they overexpanded locally here and opened way too many stores due to how something was contracted out with an investment firm (I believe) so it might be just hitting how they're growing across the board.
 


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