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James DarbyI am now 87 years old and as an individual, according to the National Association of Music Merchants, I have been personally selling and servicing musical merchandise longer than any other individual person in the United States.
Looking back, I realize that I have touched a lot of lives and have left the world a better place than I found it, through music. Maybe being a little crazy is a prerequisite to being in the music business; and coming from a long line of crazy folks on my mother’s side of the family, as I grew up my mother constantly preached, “Make something of yourself.” Years ago it was much easier to make something of yourself than it is in today’s economy and business world.
I am writing this thinking that I might share a few thoughts with others in the industry as to what has transpired over the years and where it looks like we might be headed.
I would give anything if I could have been born 30 or 50 years earlier so that I would not be completing my life in the era that we now find ourselves in. My life was carefully planned. I thought that I knew where I was going and I thought that I knew exactly how I was going to get there. If 20 or so years ago we could have known what was going to happen to retail, then changes could have possibly been made in time to salvage retail. Who would have envisioned that the whole world would embrace computers and destroy retail, as we have known it in the past?
Retail was where customers made their daily purchases. The retailers made a good profit margin on what they sold, enabling them to pay livable employee wages and still make a good profit return for the dealership. Today, traditional retail sales hardly exist because the public has been educated to buy everything online. For the longevity of our national economy, this must be changed! It is my understanding that in the past, retail sales represented over 80 percent of the nation’s business; basically giving a livable income to our families... no more!
The current business climate has spawned the breakdown of manufacturer, jobber, distributor, and retailer relationships. One main concern is that many manufacturing companies now sell direct to the ultimate consumer and in many cases for less than that of traditional retail cost. In the past, our national economy was based on a profitable jobber, distributor, retailer relationship. How is the government going to make it now when retail purchases are being made even without tax in many cases?
The public is now buying online and many retail sales establishments are being forced out of business. Remember that service after the sale is of key importance and retail stores are the home of service after the sale... not the Internet.
Drastic federal rule changes are going to have to be put in place if we are going to continue to successfully exist financially as a nation. Those drastic changes have to have rules. At this time, the nations business is running without adequate rules. For success in anything, we must have a set of rules to live by and a set of rules to work by. In the future, there must be no more sales over the Internet. In today’s world, I know that statement is likely to hit most people the wrong way because we have now made the use of the Internet a part of our daily lives. Think about it: Is buying something cheaper on the Internet worth enough to you to sacrifice our national economy and our nation?
Business sales must go through legitimate sources, and applicable taxes must be paid and records of transactions made and kept. If imports are coming into our country at unacceptable low prices, duties should be applied to where we could compete globally.
To restore manufacturing in our country, it may become necessary to lower manufacturing wages until circumstances are restored for the feasibility to balance cost for a reasonable profitability. It has taken some length of time for Washington to do all the foolish spending that has been perpetrated on the country, and it is probably going to take an even longer amount of time to work our way out of this dilemma. Our new president, Donald Trump, was elected primarily on the hope that he might be able to guide the country out of our current situation.
Now is the time our government must intervene and take action to salvage our national economy and our nation.
Over a period of time, I have developed the reputation of buying other music stores, and since opening in 1955, I have purchased the inventory of 35 other music stores. Since the downturn of the global retail economy, I have a huge supermarket-sized store packed with new and used inventory for sale... probably one of the largest inventories in the country.
After selling musical merchandise and servicing band instruments for all these years, the store is still profitable. However, due to my age, the time has come for me to consider selling the store so that I may have the time and resources to complete some other projects that could possibly change the national economy.
May I suggest that you consider purchasing Capitol Music, along with some other music stores to become the “Donald Trump” of the music industry in your locality?
There is an old adage that says, “There is a time to buy and a time to sell.”
If you are comparatively young, you could consider this as possibly an ideal time to acquire several stores from dealers that feel discouraged with the current economy. Buying a number of stores increases your opportunity for larger quantity discounts and other profit incentives.
I have written a book designed as a road map of how to salvage our national and local economy. It is currently in the process of being finalized and published. The title of the book is The Darby Plan. I have been working on this book for years, and as I put the finishing touches on it, I see 94 million people out of work (that’s one-third of our population), 53 million on food stamps, 43 million living in poverty, massive national debt, too much of our manufacturing base shipped overseas, small businesses failing, and the remaining business owners attacked for exercising their God-given rights. We are on a solid track to becoming a third world country. At the same time, I believe that we can come back stronger than ever if our leaders can take the right steps. It can be done! My ultimate vision is that with Donald Trump as president, America would adopt the key points I have focused on in the book and utilize them to help reverse the direction our national economy is headed.


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