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There will always be a need for music-equipment store, just like there will always be a need for a ladies' undergarment store or a need for a paint store or a toy store. What there ISN'T is a need for a music, or bra, or paint, or Lego store the size of a major supermarket.

I find the mistake these companies make is to assume that because sales have picked up, that somehow becoming an "empire" is just around the corner, and that having an empire is necessarily their destiny. Like Icarus, they try to fly too close to the sun, and it becomes their downfall.
 

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There will always be a need for music-equipment store, just like there will always be a need for a ladies' undergarment store or a need for a paint store or a toy store. What there ISN'T is a need for a music, or bra, or paint, or Lego store the size of a major supermarket.

I find the mistake these companies make is to assume that because sales have picked up, that somehow becoming an "empire" is just around the corner, and that having an empire is necessarily their destiny. Like Icarus, they try to fly too close to the sun, and it becomes their downfall.
Cosmos music is about the size of a large supermarket and it looks like its doing pretty good to me. I think whats important is the business model.
As well I think it may be easier to maintain one big store with a big online presence rather than hundreds of stores with an online presence. If you can do online sales what do you need hundreds of money sucking stores for?
As well Cosmos seems to do sales through best buy which must be a decent source of income.
I wonder if Long and McQuade is having any issues. I haven't heard anything but I always felt they were the Canadian version of guitar center.
I know for my self I went from spending 90% of my gear budget there to less than 10%. Since Christmas I've spent 12K on guitars and not once cent went to L&M
 

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The ownership of Guitar Centers I think is similar to that of Toys-R-Us. Buy it, finance it, sell it down the road. I am not overly familiar with these types of business ventures. Something about paying off debt first. and not really investing in the company, etc.
 

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Cosmos music is about the size of a large supermarket and it looks like its doing pretty good to me. I think whats important is the business model.
As well I think it may be easier to maintain one big store with a big online presence rather than hundreds of stores with an online presence. If you can do online sales what do you need hundreds of money sucking stores for?
As well Cosmos seems to do sales through best buy which must be a decent source of income.
I wonder if Long and McQuade is having any issues. I haven't heard anything but I always felt they were the Canadian version of guitar center.
I know for my self I went from spending 90% of my gear budget there to less than 10%. Since Christmas I've spent 12K on guitars and not once cent went to L&M
Bingo. If GC consisted of a warehouse and rich on-line presence, with smaller local locations, instead of multiple supermarket-sized locations that all have to carry as close to the full inventory as possible, they might stand a chance.

Of course one of the problems such places face when financial difficulties arise is: Who can you sell the real estate to? That's part of the problem Sears and Toys-R-Us are facing. Great big buildings, and sometimes anchor stores. There are few potential clients for such facilities.
 

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Bingo. If GC consisted of a warehouse and rich on-line presence, with smaller local locations, instead of multiple supermarket-sized locations that all have to carry as close to the full inventory as possible, they might stand a chance.

Of course one of the problems such places face when financial difficulties arise is: Who can you sell the real estate to? That's part of the problem Sears and Toys-R-Us are facing. Great big buildings, and sometimes anchor stores. There are few potential clients for such facilities.
From what I've heard (can't verify but it seems reasonable) is that L&M has a real estate branch of the business and has been buying up and moving into small strip malls where they lease to other tenants and it pays for their presence on site.
 
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Business today needs growth to survive, and sometimes it's not sustainable. It inevitable when everything runs on financing.

I visited a couple in the US and was shocked at how they were set up. The people working there were uninformed and non-musician types, which I feel led to the floor being filled with people who had no business or interest in actually buying guitars and just tire kicking and playing with the floor models. It was perhaps the worse cacophony of sound I have witnessed, and couldn't wait to get out of there.

L&M here and most places I've visited are staffed by advanced musicians who not only understand the products, they have a genuine interest and enthusiasm matching their clients. The boys here in NL are great.
 

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Business today needs growth to survive, and sometimes it's not sustainable. It inevitable when everything runs on financing.

I visited a couple in the US and was shocked at how they were set up. The people working there were uninformed and non-musician types, which I feel led to the floor being filled with people who had no business or interest in actually buying guitars and just tire kicking and playing with the floor models. It was perhaps the worse cacophony of sound I have witnessed, and couldn't wait to get out of there.

L&M here and most places I've visited are staffed by advanced musicians who not only understand the products, they have a genuine interest and enthusiasm matching their clients. The boys here in NL are great.
You have to be in a musician to work on the floor at L&M and I understand they don't hire part-time staffers. Only full-time, dedicated employees.
 

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L&M has a real estate branch of the business and has been buying up and moving into small strip malls
Seems here in BC most of the L&M stores are standalone and not in malls at all. A number of locations too have been constructed as dedicated music stores and not converted fast food restaurants.
 

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I think 'brick and mortar' stores of any size may be going the way of the dodo bird with this current generation. I wonder how that big fancy store in Edmonton is going to fair? (I've never been there, but it looks pretty big and well stocked from the pics I've seen.)

I spend some time on a big A/V site. Many a time I'veseen a post with someone wanting other people's opinions on what set of hi-fi speakers he should buy (which by itself is a silly prospect in the first place - buying something personal like hi-fi speakers based on what other people like).

When told he should go out and demo the speakers because everyone hears differently and wants different things. The OP would then go on to say there are no more hi-fi shops in his area - which he then says isn't really a problem because he would be buying the speakers on line anyways. He just needed a place to demo them, and failing that he was just going to go on other people's opinions.

This is what I see of the future of music stores. Way too many people seem to value other people's opinions on gear over their own senses. Strange.
 

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I think the challenge that straddles nearly all large retailers is that consumers expect to have more choices, simply because the internet allows them to be aware of everything that is "out there" and available. Providing for those choices requires both inventory and display/storage space. It was a lot easier to be, and survive as, a music store when you only needed to carry a couple of brands of any given product category (e.g., Ibanez and Yamaha, Boss and Behringer), and your location didn't need to be any bigger than the average Chinese take-out. These days, such limited choice simply can't cut it, any more than a produce store could survive if it only carried two kinds of apples.

And, although I would still be very reticent to purchase a guitar over the internet, sight unseen, there is an awful lot of gear (e.g., keyboards, strings, pedals, mixers, etc.) that will be the same whether you buy it from Musician's Friend, Sweetwater, Sam Ash, Anderton's, Music Toyz, or wherever, because it is entirely or largely assembly-line produced, with reproducible materials and methods.

Although it ONLY carries those sorts of things, a place like Moog Audio can survive and thrive because it limits itself to a few niches (no drums, and very few guitars), and keeps its real estate cost down by doing so, while still providing a huge variety within those few niches. I'm sure that's not the only successful strategy, but it is one of them.
 
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