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Avenue Guitars in Edmonton has got a For Lease sign in the Window. I guess this has been a long time coming. I live just around the corner and have been watching. A few years ago the original owner passed away and what was the place get guitars has gone down hill due to a nose dive in customer service. There have been a couple of posts in the last two years or so about that. During the last year, they have had some deep discounts here and there which I wouldn't have expected. The couple or times I was in during the last six months they were very nice and very helpful. But I guess that was too little, too late. In the last month they cut their hours down to Thursday to Sunday, and had 30% off all guitars ticket price, and all sales final. Today I saw the sign.

Too bad to see a mom and pop store go down, but if you don't keep up the customer service...
 

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I always felt like I was in Grandma's attic in there, some nice gear but amps stacked up, no room to move around.
Where else do you get a hand written receipt.
 

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Wow. They had some REALLY nice guitars in there. In my imaginary meeting where the roadie/guitar tech from whatever major band is in town stops and asks me 'Hey it's an emergency, where can I get XXXX?', besides 'My House', my answer was always Avenue Guitars (or Cameron's in the old days).


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I always felt like I was in Grandma's attic in there, some nice gear but amps stacked up, no room to move around.
Where else do you get a hand written receipt.
That is a sure sign that any business is soon going to be on the scrap heap.
 

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Sad to hear for sure, it was the first place I felt at home on my musical gear journey and a place where the staff could educate you on things before the days of the forums. I think a lot of people knew time was short for Avenue when Brian died and the staff left due to the new management. The good thing is we got Tyler and Stang out of this, in some roundabout way, and they should carry on the higher end, boutique, vintage, etc. gear for us to have access to.
 

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It was a great location for finding parts, namely switches and pickguards.
I imagine the current owner just did not want to operate a guitar store
 

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They were in 'liquidation mode' for a long time, hadn't had any or at least much new product through the doors in 3 years or so. My understanding is they (the estate) tried to sell the place and had interested parties but maybe asked too much for the inventory. Over time moved the stuff over that they had stored in an off site warehouse, and just tried to sell everything Brian had accumulated. I bought a NOS 2009 P bass there earlier this year, lots of that sort of thing on the walls and in the back. I wonder what will become of the remainder of the inventory - they still had some pretty good stuff that just never moved.
 

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The owner died and the family didn't want to take over.
That was the story I got when I asked 2 years ago.
They've been having closing out sales for near 3 years; it's just that the guy had so much stock in various warehouses around the city that it took them a long time to liquidate.
22 months ago I got a Taylor acoustic at 30% off.

I had the same feeling as mentioned about the hand written bills of sale.
Quaint and charming but ultimately not very confidence inspiring.
 

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I had the same feeling as mentioned about the hand written bills of sale.
Quaint and charming but ultimately not very confidence inspiring.
I don't know, it worked and served people well. I'm just a young kid so my dealings were few in comparison to some of the other folks in the city but I'm sure they can chime in on how well things went with Brian and handwritten receipts. I know I've spoken many times with people and the reviews were good,.. eventually though in the last years it turned under new managers.

The place built relationships, you didn't need a receipt if you had any issues back in the day. I bought one of my first guitars there at 15 or 16 and years later a pot started to crackle. I didn't know much about maintenance and took it in to them, they took care of it free of charge.

I should also mention that I've bought guitars second hand in this city that still have the handwritten receipt and the card verification slip stapled together in the case compartment. I like that.
 

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For the sake of clarity, Avenue didn't end up under new ownership or management. When Brian passed away his wife took over. She was always involved in the business. Brian was in his early 60's when he passed away almost 3 years ago. One can only assume that his wife really didn't want to run the business in the event of his death and even less so 3 years later, not to mention that their lease was expiring and Whyte Ave isn't the most reasonably priced space in the city. The issue regarding hand written receipts was really irrelevant to the success of the business but it's an important indicator of a business that didn't progress into the new millennium where inventory is tracked by computer. I can't imagine how they keep track of their inventory and more so what their cost of that inventory really is (or was). By all accounts it is still a sad day when stores like this close their doors.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I should also mention that I've bought guitars second hand in this city that still have the handwritten receipt and the card verification slip stapled together in the case compartment. I like that.
I bought a 2008 Simon &Patrick from some guy last year. It still has the original handwritten receipt in the case,
 
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That is a sure sign that any business is soon going to be on the scrap heap.
I buy regularly from successful businesses that issue hand-written receipts. The local mom'n'pop music shop does them sometimes, usually stapled to a cash register receipt, to offer an itemized account of the sale. My plumber does the same, even from his shop, not just on location.

I really don't think it indicates anything negative at all.
 

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I was only in there once, in 2007, but I thought it was a nice place. I can't speak to the pricing since local markets and demand (as well as availability) are a little different everywhere you go, but the atmosphere seemed pleasant enough.

I applaud the widow's attempt to keep the business going, but it's one thing to have gear in your blood, and another thing to have to look up stuff all the time. That's more like work.

A shame to lose another one, but it happens.
 

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For the sake of clarity, Avenue didn't end up under new ownership or management. When Brian passed away his wife took over. She was always involved in the business. Brian was in his early 60's when he passed away almost 3 years ago. One can only assume that his wife really didn't want to run the business in the event of his death and even less so 3 years later, not to mention that their lease was expiring and Whyte Ave isn't the most reasonably priced space in the city. The issue regarding hand written receipts was really irrelevant to the success of the business but it's an important indicator of a business that didn't progress into the new millennium where inventory is tracked by computer. I can't imagine how they keep track of their inventory and more so what their cost of that inventory really is (or was). By all accounts it is still a sad day when stores like this close their doors.
After Brian died, the widow drove away some good people, including long-time manager Tyler Stang, who started up Stang Guitars. It's clear to me that there was never any intention of keeping the business as a going concern, investing in it in any way, or selling it. Whatever else was going on, in the past year it became obvious that the place was winding up operations and was going to shut down at some point. Their primitive website has been advertising excellent deals for quite some time. Lots of 1/3 to 1/2 off deals for walk-in customers, some of which were advertisied on their website. Regarding the cost of inventory, they have been discounting some stuff based on whatever was paid for it 10 or 15 years ago, resulting in some absolutely screaming deals.
 

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After Brian died, the widow drove away some good people, including long-time manager Tyler Stang, who started up Stang Guitars. It's clear to me that there was never any intention of keeping the business as a going concern, investing in it in any way, or selling it. Whatever else was going on, in the past year it became obvious that the place was winding up operations and was going to shut down at some point. Their primitive website has been advertising excellent deals for quite some time. Lots of 1/3 to 1/2 off deals for walk-in customers, some of which were advertisied on their website. Regarding the cost of inventory, they have been discounting some stuff based on whatever was paid for it 10 or 15 years ago, resulting in some absolutely screaming deals.
Everything you've noted is absolutely true.
 

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I got my prised Swart from Avenue.
Speaking of the hand written receipts...The Custom I bought elsewhere 2nd hand showed the owner traded a Strat in for it at Avenue, trade in value noted.
The Mark V I bought 2nd hand elsewhere showed the year bought, and that the original owner was from Yellowknife.
Not earth shaking but nice to see.
 

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It was sad to hear about Brian's death & the store going downhill.
I was in there a couple of times on trips to Edmonton (the last time was about 5 years ago I think).
I liked the variety, in just about everything--including picks & accessories--even if it was crowded in there-
I've seen other business do this when the owner died & the family didn't want to take it over--I never want to lose brick & mortar music stores & having some Mom & Pop stores as well as smaller chains is a nice thing as well--more variety that way I find.
 

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It was too crowded in there, it was almost claustrophobic. Prices weren't great. Internet and Kijiji probably didn't help them any, as well as L&M expanding so much.

The deals they had there in the past 6 months though were quite good price wise, but the selection was the same mouldy undesirable stuff from a good decade prior. It was clear they were winding down.

Staff were usually good to deal with.

I have yet to check out Stang guitars... I'll have to drop by.
 
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