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Summertime Blues

Christian Wissmuller • Current IssueEditorialJune 2024 • June 4, 2024
Summer’s here (well, it’s not “officially” here until June 20, but it sure feels like it already)! Family vacations, camping trips, beach-days, outdoor festivals, BBQs – what’s not to love about the season?
Well… if you’re in the MI trade, you almost certainly know that, while these warmer months certainly have lots going for them, it’s also often the most “dead” time of year when it comes to closing a sale. As Luciano Minetti of KORG notes in this month’s Roundtable feature on Portable Keyboards (page 14), “Sales performance typically experiences a slowdown across various product categories during the summer season.”
We’re not yet at Back-to-School season, well past the Holiday Buying rush, and soon kids will be taking a break from their school music programs (and all related purchases of needed accessories and step-up instruments). Moreover, consumers are as/more likely to be considering the purchase of a boat or budgeting for a summer rental or flight to Europe during these months than forking over hard-earned wages for a new electronic drum kit to play indoors. On top of all of that, what had once been an annual gathering that pumped life into the industry, the Summer NAMM Show, is (for now, at least) no more. NAMM NeXT in Nashville will no doubt be a valuable July event for many, but it does not have the size or scope of the old trade show.
So what to do? Some MI stores follow the model of their European counterparts and simply close for at least a portion of the summer. If the amount of instruments and gear you’re selling represents revenue less than the costs associated with paying utility bills and your employees’ salaries (and if said employees are all right with the arrangement or have some other income sources to sustain them during the break in business), then – sure, why not? Others – particularly dealers in the more northern parts of the nation where temps aren’t always so inviting – leverage the wonderful weather to their advantage by hosting parking lot or sidewalk sales, putting on outdoor performances, or holding other “outside activities” to generate business. Still others, such as Grimey’s New & Preloved Music, which is featured in this month’s “Small Business Matters” column (page 18), are consistently embarking on unique initiatives and distinctively compelling events that make their location a “must visit” destination year-round.
For decades, MMR has been clocking this yearly “dry spell” for MI retail, but we’d be curious to know: How does your business survive and thrive during these summer months? Do you have any tips, strategies, or words of wisdom to share with your fellow music store owners? Reach out at the email address below – I’d love to hear from you!

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