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A Nationwide Survey of MI Retailers Suggests Things Are Looking Up, While Internet Sales Remain a Threat

ALABAMA

Homewood Music

Homewood

Bob Tedrow, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Considering a flood of sewage that completely took us out of the retail business for about six months in 2016 and a local real estate entrepreneur purchased our building and raised the rent so high we felt encouraged to relocate, pretty good! We managed the strife without borrowing money and are back up to speed.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Gentrification and real estate prices! Here in Alabama the first to engage in business in sketchy neighborhoods are banjo salesmen. When the surroundings improve, high end donut shops replace us!

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Staying in business for over 30 years and driving a 1928 Ford around town for the past 25 years has definitely helped our local presence. I have surrendered completely to social marketing and try to provide interesting content and good quality photography. We have a local annual music festival, monthly ukulele sessions and I have been on the board of our community Arts Council for several years.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? We are constantly busy with restorations, set ups and repairs here in Birmingham. Other than our own two hands, my favorite products are from Recording King and Loar, upon which we bestow adjustments and set ups that are WELL above average.

 

ALASKA

Petr’s Violin Shop & Anchorage

Guitar Central

Anchorage

Petr Bucinsky, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? It’s a little bit slower, but that’s because Alaska has the highest unemployment rate of any state in the union right now. We’re at 7% and we’ve lost over 1700 jobs since the same time last year, and that’s because of oil prices.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? For us personally in Alaska, oil prices.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? TV commercials work very, very well. If I run a couple hundred commercials a month, it actually doubles my business. We’re also doing financing programs.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Ukuleles are always very popular, and Taylor Guitars.

 

ARIZONA

Milano Music Center

Mesa

Jim Minch, Manager

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Our sales have been about even in combo and band and orchestra. We have had a nice little uptick in our B+O rental dept.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? The internet continues to be a concern…. we can certainly compete with online stores but the sales tax is always an issue. We stopped stocking high end synths, et cetera because we were being showroomed so often.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We have an open mic night a block from our store at a local microbrewery. The open mic nights are every Tuesday alternating acoustic nights with the band nights. These open mics are open to the public and we have discovered that giving people a place to play motivates them to upgrade their gear.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? We have good traction with Quilter amps and our B+O department is selling a lot of the Backun clarinets.

 

ARKANSAS

Shuffield Music Company

Arkadelphia

Paul Shuffield, Jr., Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? 2017 has been a great year for us! We are

currently 115% over the same period last year based on in-store sales alone. We have also experienced double-digit growth in our online and installation sales!

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? We have found that “getting the word out” with regard to our products and services is the most difficult issue we face on a daily basis. Traditional methods of marketing are not as successful as in years past. While we do utilize technology based outreach methods, we are always looking for new ways to acquire customers while continuing to serve the needs of our existing customer base.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Being named a “Top 100 Dealer” by NAMM was extremely fortuitous for us this year. Our local and regional media outlets picked up the story and provided us with some really good coverage. That combined with the online marketing push we launched related to the “Top 100” honor helped us reach many new customers resulting in an expanded service area.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Although it’s not just one product, instructional books in general have been a hot item for us this year. We’ve notice growth in this category over the past couple of years, but this year the growth has been tremendous.

 

CALIFORNIA

Gottschalk Music Center

Merced

John Gottschalk, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Thankfully, this year has continued the positive trend that started after the great recession hit hard in 2009. Most categories in the store are holding steady or showing an increase.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Competition really seems to come from many different places: other independent local stores, large national stores, internet retailers, other areas of interest that compete for customer’s discretionary income, i.e., video games, cell phones, tablets, etc. They are all areas of concern. While I think we’ve been able to compete successfully against all these competitors, I suspect the biggest threat comes from competition outside the music industry. Companies like Apple, Samsung, Verizon, AT&T Nintendo, Sony have the ability to advertise and pull in customers like no music company could ever hope.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? The most effective marketing strategy for this year started in 2016. It’s an old strategy, but one that is proving effective. I made the investment in hiring a dedicated ed rep for my Clovis store. I hired an ed rep several years ago, but it just didn’t work out as well as I had hoped. However, this time it’s been a different story. There have been enough successes with that first ed rep that I’ve created another ed rep position for my Merced store. The result is that we’re seeing more school business coming into the stores.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? I hadn’t carried a house brand before and decided to work with Maple Leaf Strings and create orchestral string instrument brand, Giovanni Clemente. I’ve been very happy with the quality of the instruments, the turn and the margin.

 

COLORADO

Drum City Guitarland

Wheat Ridge

Jason Kae, Co-Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? It’s better than last year. It’s still a struggle but its definitely better.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Amazon and online shopping.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Instagram.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Schecter Guitars.

 

CONNECTICUT

Connecticut Music

Stamford

Mike Rabuazzo, Co-Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? In terms of sales, we were actually flat with last year.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? To me, it’s really a threefold issue. The biggest challenge to me is getting the younger kids to want to play again. It’s definitely the biggest issue, and then of course the online sales is still a huge concern, and the economy as well.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? I’ve never bought into that marketing 101 thing, I’m more into everyday low pricing and quality service. I think you’ve got to be on your game 24/7.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? It’s been an acoustic guitar year for us - there’s been no really one hot brand or item.

 

DELAWARE

Accent Music

Wilmington

Steve Harkey, President

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We have seen an increase in our repair department. Schools have cut their budgets and we have been repairing their old inventory as opposed to them buying new instruments. All school related sales from retail customers are up.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Our customers buying online. The convenience, free shipping, online reviews and unlimited selection is hard to compete with at a brick and mortar level. We have a few online revenue streams and it is a challenge to keep up with the website maintenance.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We have started up a new brand of our own which we have been selling online and so far the results are better than forecast.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Herche band instruments.

 

FLORIDA

Allegro Music Center

Miami

Kerop Berberian, Manager

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We’ve gone up a little bit. We’ve noticed there are a lot more schools that have integrating music programs into their

schools. Overall, we’re doing better.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Not being online just yet.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Probably social media.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Emmanuel Berberian violins and string instruments.

 

GEORGIA

Ponce De Leon Music

Cumming

Shawn Rochester, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? I’m a new owner of the business - I took the business over in June, and I was an employee here in 2016, so it’s been very different. It’s been a big shift from student level and intermediate instruments to higher-end end professional level instruments.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Online sales.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We’ve been hosting live music concerts, getting musicians to come perform here, which essentially gets them to come buy here.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Seagull acoustic guitars.

 

HAWAII

Easy Music Center

Honolulu

Peter Dods, President

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? 2017 is way up. It’s the strongest growth year we’ve had in a long time.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Complacency.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? The most successful part of our marketing and advertising efforts this year was realizing they were not working to the tune of what they were costing us. This is the first year we dropped all advertising straight across the board.  It is also our best year to date in performance so our takeaway is that either the economy is stronger, or we were wasting a

ton of resources on advertising.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? The product we couldn’t keep in stock were: QSC K.2 series, Akai MPClive, Akai MPKmini, and the Taylor GS Mini Koa.

 

IDAHO

Welch Music Center

Boise

Michael Welch, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? It’s been a pretty big year for us as far as growth. We’ve seen band and orchestra rentals up, grand pianos have been up for us.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? It really comes back to the economy. Musical instruments are one of those things where it’s not a necessity, so if the economy is good, people are more relaxed and will buy those kinds of things.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? A combination of different workshops we do - we have workshops for acoustic guitars, workshops for piano teachers, workshops for band and orchestra teachers. We see a lot

of traffic from that.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? The Yamaha CSP.

 

ILLINOIS

The Music Shoppe

Normal

Randy Wood, President

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Sales are up year-to-date over 2016. The increase is mainly in our band-orchestra rental income.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? The greatest threat, which is also a challenge, is keeping up with technology and making sure we continue to change as our customer’s expectations change regarding their shopping experience. The internet is our best friend and worst enemy at the same time.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Our most successful promotional events are our step-up band and string instrument sales.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Ukuleles! We are now selling more ukuleles to schools for classes than we are guitars.

 

INDIANA

Arthur’s Music Store

Indianapolis

Linda Osborne, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We saw a very strong start to 2017, matching a solid increase in ’16. We expect to end the year with continued growth.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Supplier pressure. The ever increasing volume of used/vintage business dictates that less of your budget goes to new product. This in turn makes it more difficult to satisfy specific product line requirements and re-upping every year.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Our 65th Anniversary day in June. We solidify our brand with each event geared toward thanking the customer, making them the center of attention. The usual free food, music, games, contests, giveaways, sales rep presence and sales.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Vintage gear is still our sweet spot. However, our product of the year would have to be the VHT Redline 20R amplifier.

 

IOWA

West Music

Cedar Falls

Robin Walenta,

President and CEO

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? 2017 has remained relatively flat compared to 2016. Areas of growth continue in the school music business and ukulele categories. Acoustic pianos remain a challenged area.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Our greatest threat is responding to customers’ personalized needs for individual valued-added services, as well as differentiating West Music to provide an experience beyond the price of the product.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Our most successful strategies have been those that were personalized and relevant to the customer with call to action initiatives directed at targeted customer groups.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? The lefreQue sound bridge has been a great addition to our product mix, encouraging add-on sales and building deeper relationships with our band instrument customers.

 

KANSAS

Damm Music

Center Inc.

Wichita

Kevin Damm, President

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We moved and doubled the size of our store in 2017, so a lot has changed for us. The move was completed in June and we’re just getting settled in. We’ve seen an increase in traffic and sales since the move.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Expanding the store. Most of our effort in the first half of the year was focused on relocating the store. Finding the right space, designing it, then building and moving.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Our Product of the year is the Amahi UK210 Soprano Ukulele.

 

KENTUCKY

Allen Music

Paducah

Brandon Allen, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? The morale has been good. We’ve been really busy.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? The greatest threat, I guess, is if I stopped trying. I firmly believe that is God is for us, who can be against us?

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We’re getting ready to do a Taylor roadshow, that’s usually a big deal.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Ukuleles and acoustic guitars.

 

LOUISIANA

Zeagler Music

Baton Rouge

Fred Zeagler, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? 2017 has been an excellent year for us. Many of our customers (and employees) sustained substantial damage in the floods of August 2016 and it was many months before we saw the replacement of instruments.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? I believe the greatest threat to all the music industry is the lowering of MAP by many manufacturers to the point that their products are just no longer profitable.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? By far our most successful promotion was selling replacement cases to all flood victims for 1/2 of MAP price. Both Gator Cases and Yamaha were tremendously helpful and hundreds of customers were very appreciative. We, of course, did not make any money but certainly gained a lot of good will.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? It was also a very good year for us in PA equipment and installs in both churches and schools.

 

MAINE

Dube’s Music

Freeport

Tom Dube, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Sales have stayed level.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Internet. Too many sellers... From Facebook to Craigslist.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Created a Summer camp program to get kids together and play music.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Cort Acoustic Guitars

 

MARYLAND

Bill’s Music

Catonsville

Brian Higgins, General Manager

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? So far this year has been more profitable for us than 2016.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Amazon, Sweetwater, and the fact that there is no sales tax on purchases online as opposed to the 6% that we have here in Maryland.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We host a number of music clinics with well-known, talented artists and clinicians. Just a few weeks ago we welcomed PRS endorser Mark Holcomb and he drew over 100 people. We have also been very aggressive working with the school band rental customers.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? This year we started to carry a lot more “boutique” effect pedals than ever before, Earthquaker and Catalinbread to name just a few. Breedlove acoustics has been a great line for us this year and we did a nice Breedlove clinic just a few months ago to introduce these quality instruments to our customer base.

 

MASSACHUSETTS

Symphony Music

North Dartmouth

Bob Williamson, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? It is up considerably.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Still the Internet, I would say.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Showing up and working hard every day - I don’t run promotions.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? We’re still riding the ukulele craze.

 

MICHIGAN

Huber Breese

Music Shop

Fraser

Paul Huber, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? I’m hoping for a 10 percent increase for 2017.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? The biggest threat to our business is our inability to display our Gibson guitars on the internet. Gibson is the only company that we deal with that limits our use of the internet Our local customers are unable to see our inventory and often purchase instruments from out of state dealers when I’ve got what they want sitting here. 

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Our best marketing strategy has to be our growth with sales on reverb. We received a platinum award for 1,000,000 in sales from reverb!

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? The Gibson autographed Slash Les Paul. I could have sold it ten times but only got one of fifty.

 

MINNESOTA

LaVonne Music

Savage

Pete Wagener, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? 2017 was a far better year for us than 2016.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? The tax free loopholes that we give to internet sellers. As a business, we pay sales tax on all of the items that we sell. At the end of the year we end up giving away up an additional 7% in an industry where profit margins are already slim.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We don’t do big promotions because we try to give people the best deal we can every day. That being said, working hard at increasing our presence on social media has been a help.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Quilter Amplifiers hands down. It’s also worth mentioning CAD Audio.

 

MISSISSIPPI

Lakeland Music

Flowood

Keith Ginn, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? As of September 1st 2016, we came under new ownership. These changes implemented by the new owner have led to an increase in traffic and a rejuvenated feel in the store itself.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Online retailers would be the most monetary impact for small good sales aside from a declining interest in musical instruments as a whole.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Due to other companies shying away from events for their customers, we are embracing them fully this year and for many years to come. We have had several fun days this year for children to come and check out instruments.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Hands down its been Orange Amplifiers. We are also Mississippi’s Only Independent Taylor Guitar Dealer and Drums Workshop Dealer in the state, which we are extremely proud of!

 

MISSOURI

Big Dude’s Music City

Kansas City

Mark Dodd, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Up to October, they’re pretty much the same.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Externally, I’d have to tip my hat to Amazon – they’ve done a fantastic job, but it’s still not replacing knowledge or information.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? In the store, we had a clinic with Victor Wooten, we did have more people show up for that than anything [else this year]. We’ve been doing clinics all year long, but with regards to turnout, that was the most significant.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Powered speakers in general, the QSC Speaker line. With regards to numbers of units sold overall, accessories and mainly cables.

 

MONTANA

Music Villa

Bozeman

Paul Decker, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? I would say we’re tracking to be slightly up.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? The way people shop is different now.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We just did our “Rocktober” sale - we have kegs of beer and coffee and make it a fun day.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Acoustic guitars.

 

NEBRASKA

Dietze Music

Omaha

Tim Pratt, President

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We have seen about the same traffic pattern in 2017 as we did in 2016. The product types and buying patterns changed to some degree but relatively the same.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? I think a huge threat to any brick and mortar store is complacency. I am always trying to come up with ideas to keep things fresh.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Hopefully we aren’t done yet! We did do a commercial centering around the joy of getting your first band instrument. We tried to capture the excitement of that first time you own the case. I think that worked quite well and hopefully let people see the joy in the eyes of a first time band instrument student.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Once again, the product type would have to be the ukulele.

 

NEVADA

Carpenter’s Music World

Reno

Debra Forman, Office Manager

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? It has been comparable – they’ve both been about the same.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Probably the big online giants that buy in bulk and then sell at a cheaper price.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We have been linking up with Yamaha, doing some Yamaha and Costco events, and those seem to be a good generation of leads.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Pianos and keyboards.

 

NEW HAMPSHIRE

Smash Music

Derry

Scott Graves, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? I would best characterize it as very much in a state of flux. From a financial standpoint - expect the unexpected.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? It’s the lack of liquidity for the middle class. In a lot of microregions, people simply do not have the means for their children to engage in band and orchestra.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? For us it was networking directly with music educators and also taking advantage of some of our early adopters. As we have garnered new clients who are happy with the new business models, whether it be through social media or creating ensembles with out education department, it’s in taking advantage of those relationships and building on them.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? I wouldn’t say it’s a product, I would say repair services.

 

NEW JERSEY

The Music Den

Randolph

Jason Pitt, General Manager and Buyer

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Sales are up, both in-store and online, and foot traffic is up.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Probably Amazon and things of the like - in general, non-music stores and companies selling musical instruments.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Our use of adwords.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? I would have to say used instruments in general.

 

NEW MEXICO

Hubbard’s Music-N-More

Las Cruces

Dru Hubbard, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Great – more people are coming in and more people are spending money.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Internet sales.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Social media.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Ukuleles in general, and QSC K Series Speakers.

 

NEW YORK

Main Drag Music

Brooklyn

Karl Myers, Partner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? The second half of 2016 and all of 2017 have been the most volatile period we’ve seen in our 20 years in business. We’ve had to rearrange our approach on both the macro and micro levels but we’re also seeing new opportunities arise in places we hadn’t anticipated.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? As we’re a business that grew out of a community of musicians, our greatest threat has always been the dissolution of that community. In New York City the main agent of that change is real-estate development but we’re heartened that the city has recognized the worth of music production and has begun taking steps to support it.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Instagram continues to be our most effective marketing tool.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? For the second year in a row the Korg Minilogue was our highest selling non-accessory item. The Critter & Guittari Organelle gets an honorable mention.

 

NORTH CAROLINA

Fuller’s Music

New Bern

David Rhodes, President

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We have seen a considerable increase in sales.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? There is always the threat and possibility of becoming complacent. Consumers can sense a retailer’s passion or lack thereof.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We promote a one day only, step up and professional band instrument sale. The event also includes inventory and representatives from our largest vendors. We call it “Fuller’s Fest.”

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Yamaha YAS200ADII Alto Saxophone.

 

NORTH DAKOTA

Kenny’s Music

Grand Forks

Kenneth Holweger, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We are holding about even with last year at this time.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? I would say the greatest threat to our business would be the internet. Another threat to our sales is our suppliers selling direct to our customers. Another threat is our manufacturers building special edition guitars, amps and keyboards that are exclusive to the big box stores with their name on them.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? I do a student recital 2 times a year and a battle of the bands 1 time a year. I have a prize drawing for customers if they sign up for our website. I do the Battle of Bands in conjunction with our county fair and they promote it for me.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Bass Amps-Fender Rumble Series, Guitars- Fender Acoustics and FSR series guitar and amps.

 

OHIO

Prospect Music

Cleveland

Mike Rubin, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? It’s actually been kind of flat- about the same.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Amazon.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? I’d have to say local advertising and word of mouth.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? John Packer Band Instruments.

 

OKLAHOMA

Rawson Music and Guitar Store

Oklahoma City

James Rawson, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We’re about even up to this point. The fourth quarter kind of tanked last year all through the fourth quarter, so we had a disappointing fourth quarter last year. We’re looking for that to change this year.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Internet sales. The fact that the state of Oklahoma is still not forcing all of the internet companies to collect sales tax puts us at a disadvantage.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? We do a lot of Google advertising. We also do Google adwords.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Martin Guitars.

 

OREGON

Uptown Music

Keizer

Paul Elliott, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Year to date, we are 11% up over 2016.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Becoming complacent. We carry a lot of the same products as other music retailers, so we are always looking for ways to better ourselves in the way we take care of our customers and community.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? The Taylor Guitars Road Show and Food for Strings sponsored by D’Addario are always strong events for our store.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? The BOSS Acoustic Singer Live acoustic amp.

 

PENNSYLVANIA

Nazareth Music

Center

Nazareth

Scott Brodt, CEO

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Financially about a 14% increase in total sales. School rentals (B&O) are very strong, and repairs well above last year’s numbers in quantity.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? We have lost accessories sales to the internet, but the rapidly escalating cost of quality band and orchestra instruments are difficult to manage. Trying to compete in an arena of inexpensive, low quality band instruments with durable, well made, repairable instruments is a serious strain.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? For the past two years we have more and more invitations to take over the rental/repair aspect of local school programs because of a very strong, competent repair shop. Having a repair shop on site that does a great job has done more for the business than TV and radio combined.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Wood Stone sax mouthpieces and their full line of ligatures made by Ishimori, Japan.

 

RHODE ISLAND

Wakefield Music

Wakefield

Dennis Costa, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We are down about 6% But will keep a positive attitude for the rest of the year.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Internet sales and decreasing interest in playing musical instruments.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Facebook and our online inventory site.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Taylor Academy and Mini Series.

 

SOUTH CAROLINA

Ye Olde Music Shop

Hanahan

Michael Davis, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? 2016 was the biggest year that I ever had, and I thought it would be impossible to beat it, but we’re beating it.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? I do not see a threat. The big box stores are certainly not a threat – they’re filled with salespeople who have no business in the music business. I think if you see a threat, you’re not doing the right thing.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? There’s nothing like word of mouth.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Martin Guitars.

 

SOUTH DAKOTA

Haggerty’s Music

Rapid City

Marcus Lavake, Co-Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We’re probably overall up 20 percent.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Complacency.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? In terms of dollars, I did a “not black Friday” Black Friday sale where we ran a radio ad with something like “we don’t think you should have to wake up early to get a killer deal on Black Friday.” That was easily two to three times more [popular] than any other promotional event.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Taylor Academy Series Guitars.

 

TENNESSEE

Fanny’s House of Music

Nashville

Pamela Cole

Co-Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? 2017 has been another successful year here at Fanny’s House of Music! Nashville has new people moving here every day, and East Nashville, where we are located, continues to be a hot spot for musicians and visitors.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Theft! We are a small store and stolen merchandise can affect our bottom line momentously. We are having to up our security measures on every level.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? For the past three years we have proudly sponsored an event called “She’s A Rebel.” It’s a concert of all women that celebrates the “girl groups” music of the 50’s and 60’s. It’s a wonderful way for the women musicians from all genres to network with each other in Nashville.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Our product of the year has to be our new Exclusive Fanny guitar strap by local strap company Original Fuzz!

 

TEXAS

Murphy’s Music Center

Irving

Mike Murphy, Co-Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? It’s been up.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Amazon.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Facebook blasts.

“Product of the year” for 2017? Electric guitars are trending up.

 

UTAH

Boothe Brothers Music

Spanish Fork

Dan Boothe, Owner and General Manger

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? The easy answer to that question is that we are up. Sales have been steady even at times that have historically been slow seasons for us. 

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Shrinking profit margins. It is the one thing that feels like is out of our hands at this point. I can sell X product for X amount because that is what the company/ internet says it is worth. Even though historically, I have been able to sell the same product at a higher profit margin. Profit margin keeps me from opening up with several manufacturers. If a you are only offering a 30% margin, I am not impressed or tempted to even try to sell your stuff. The only other serious threat is just keeping the right stock in. I feel like this year has been better for most of the bread and butter items but it has been harder to order the step up instrument we really want because of CITES.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Marketing through social media combined with giveaways where all a customer has to do to win is come in and actually try out three or more versions of the instrument they are interested in, have been well attended and profitable.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? The Krutz 250 series violin.

 

VERMONT

Ellis Music

Bethel

David Ellis, President

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We are primarily a school music store specializing in the rental, sales and servicing of band and orchestral instruments. All aspects of the business are up about 5% over 2016.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? We sell quality instruments and follow up with excellent support and service for which we don’t charge. One threat is trying to compete with retailers (online or affiliates) that sell or rent cheap, inferior instruments and provide no follow up after the sale.

Another threat is the erosion of school music programs and decreasing school population in the northeast. This has inspired us to look for new and different markets.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Our most successful marketing strategy has been to provide consistent, long term service to the school music programs with quality instruments, music, accessories, and repairs. We have been doing this for more than sixty years.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? The YBS-52 Yamaha baritone saxophone.

 

VIRGINIA

Dale City Music

Dale City

Stacy Armistead, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We’re quite up - I’ve used social media a great deal, getting the word out there that we’re still there.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Nothing. I don’t fear anything - I don’t know if that sounds cocky! I am a strict, family-run store, and I don’t have a threat from the big stores or anything of that aspect. My father and my family have been in the music industry since 1978. I have people that come in my store that have known him for 40 years. I am really not feeling any threat from a Guitar Center because customers come in and see the family aspect of my business.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Social media, that’s been a huge thing for us.

“Product of the year” for 2017? Fender is a big thing is my store. I am a premium showcase dealer and also a custom shop dealer.

 

WASHINGTON

Music World

Vancouver

Matt Gohlke, Manager

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? Huge increase in acoustic guitar sales, moderate in band instrument sales, our school and repair services have been on an upward trend this year as well. Percussion/ Drum sales are great too, along with our lesson studios consistently being full.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Unregulated online sales. We have had a part in some 3rd-party marketplaces that have been decent for store exposure, but the largest obstacle we see commonly is the NO TAX effect from big online retailers. We deal with this often enough with Oregon being 5 minutes from our shop (NO SALES TAX in OREGON) but our local Washington customers are sometimes swayed by the lure of saving tax and it’s often an obstacle in negotiating sales. With better regulations and tax laws we will likely see local customers stay with the local store.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Facebook and Youtube reach the largest audience for us as both product demos and sponsored posts/events get great impressions. For events, our 1st Annual Breedlove Custom Acoustic Guitar Build Trip was a huge hit!

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Acoustic Guitars, specifically Breedlove guitars and the Concerto models have been popular.

 

WEST VIRGINIA

Route 60 Music Co.

Barboursville

Paul Callicoat, Co-Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? About even.

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? There’s no doubt that internet sales are eventually destroying retail. If you don’t find a niche, I truly believe that online sales will be the demise of every brick and mortar retailer.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? What works best for us are community events. We tend to do a lot of songwriter nights and we have some charity events we put on for local food banks, city missions, animal rescue, so what works best for us seems to be public, community-supporting events.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Ukuleles.

 

WISCONSIN

Mike’s Music & Sound

Fond du Lac

Andrew Johnson, Purchasing Manager

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? We were fortunate enough to have healthy years in both 2016 and so far in 2017. We saw 8% growth in 2016 and are on track to see about the same 8% growth this year. What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? Amazon is a very convenient way to shop. Knowing you can return almost anything, taking a trip the local indie store to get your hands and ears on a bunch of different guitars or pedals may lose its appeal.

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? A few years ago, we made a conscious decision to get out into the community, concerts, farmer’s markets, various annual city celebrations. The visibility and the ability to interact with people has proven more effective than other traditional advertising routes.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Effects pedals!

 

WYOMING

Rockstar Music Store

Casper

Ryan Meyer, Owner

How has 2017 compared to 2016 for your store? 2017 has been a much busier year, Total sales are up over 35%!

What do you consider to be the greatest threat to your business? A down economy is the biggest threat to us!

Most successful marketing strategy or promotional event for your store in 2017? Offering financing options has been one of the best promotional things we’ve ever done.

“Product of the year” for your business in 2017? Elixir nanoweb Acoustic Strings!



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