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Musicstop sold to chain
Long & McQuade, country’s largest music retailer, buys 9 Atlantic stores
By BRUCE ERSKINE Business Reporter


Musicstop, Atlantic Canada’s largest chain of musical instrument stores, has been bought by Long & McQuade, the country’s largest music retailer.

"It’s our largest group acquisition," Long & McQuade president Steve Long said from the firm’s Pickering, Ont., headquarters on Tuesday. "This adds about 12 per cent to our business."

Mr. Long, the son of Jack Long, who co-founded Long & McQuade in Toronto in the 1950s, wouldn’t disclose financial details of the purchase.

"We’re a private company," he said.

However, he said the acquisition fits Long & McQuade’s strategy of being a strong national retailer.

"They’re good locations with a regional reach."

The purchase of Musicstop’s nine stores in Atlantic Canada — five in Nova Scotia, three in New Brunswick and one in Newfoundland — gives Long & McQuade 37 retail stores across Canada that employ more that 1,200 people.

Musicstop, headquartered in Halifax, has about 200 workers.

Mr. Long said he has known Musicstop president Russ Brannon, who started the business with his wife Sharon out of a trailer in Westphal in 1972, for a long time and they had talked "back and forth" about a possible sale.

"It was a good time," Mr. Long said.

He said the Brannons have been in the retail music business for 35 years.

"Russ wanted to leave the company in hands he trusts."

Mr. Brannon said Tuesday he had mixed feelings about the sale and will probably go through some withdrawal symptoms, but felt it will ensure Musicstop’s future.

"They’re a big company with huge resources," said Mr. Brannon, 61, who owns Master Merchant Systems Software Ltd., which develops point-of-sale retail management software used by businesses throughout North America.

"They’ll treat this market wonderfully."

Mr. Brannon, also a guitarist, said he plans to do more writing and recording as well as focusing on his software business. He will also act as an adviser to Long & McQuade during the ownership transition.

Mr. Long said Musicstop is a profitable business with good employees and he doesn’t anticipate making any immediate changes to the chain, which will retain its name.

"We may change the brand at some point, but not today," he said, noting that the Long & McQuade brand isn’t as well known in Atlantic Canada as Musicstop. "It’s not going to be different."

The sale includes the Canadian Conservatory music school that Musicstop operates.

Mr. Long said Long & McQuade will expand some offerings such as L&M University, which stages seminars, clinics and showcases for musicians, songwriters and producers, to the Atlantic outlets.

Mr. Long said the retail music business in Canada is typically dominated by a major player in any given market and that Long & McQuade’s acquisition of Muscistop doesn’t change that dynamic in the Atlantic region.

He said he has spoken to Ken Foote, the owner of Buckley’s Music, Musicstop’s chief competitor in Halifax, about the sale.

"He seems happy," Mr. Long said.

He said Long & McQuade doesn’t solicit acquisitions and hasn’t offered to buy Buckley’s, which only has one location. Mr. Foote declined comment Tuesday.

( [email protected])

’We may change the brand at some point, but not today.’
 

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I visit my L&M store weekly in Mississauga. I have grown to hate it. The guitars they carry are nothing but B stock quality. They only carry top 40 equipment and the sales staff hasn't got a clue on what's available? I could not believe no one in the store had no idea what an attenuator was,or BBE or Visual Sound???? They are turning into the American chain, Guitar Centre/Musicians Friend and my guess is they will sell out to GC in a couple more years.

My favorite shop is The Arts Music store in Newmarket. Great bunch over there.
 

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The L&McQ store in Calgary has always been awesome in my opinion. Mind you, I don't play electrics so my focus is quite limited. But every time I've gone in there, they've been so helpful, going out of their way to make me happy..... and they don't work on commission. I can always find what I'm looking for. If they don't have it, they order it in, and it comes in quickly. Some of them know who I am when I walk in there and always say hello. And they definitely don't have B stock guitars. They've got an amazing stock of acoustic guitars, in my opinion (altho' I usually don't get much past the Gibson wall LOL) My only complaint is that there's only one in Calgary, down south (I'm north). But, rumour has it that they're opening a new store next year in the north end. So, maybe we should all be buying stock in the company!
 

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Gilliangirl said:
I usually don't get much past the Gibson wall LOL) My only complaint is that there's only one in Calgary, down south (I'm north). But, rumour has it that they're opening a new store next year in the north end. So, maybe we should all be buying stock in the company!
Yes, the Gibson wall is nice, huh? But that absolutely DUMB location on 58th Ave, right by that conjested LRT crossing, with no way to get in from anywhere but the south...

...a fellow northender, I always look with trepidation at a trip to L&M.

...and now that the Jack Attack has swallowed MusicStop, perhaps MusicStop's service will improve?
 

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I go into the L&M store in Burlington quite a bit and for the most part it's good. They don't carry enough Guilds for my liking, but a store can only carry so much right?

I did want to try a specific guitar one time and there was only one showing up in their inventory from Saskatchewan. They brought it in for me to look at. I thought that was real cool.
 

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mandocaster said:
Yes, the Gibson wall is nice, huh? But that absolutely DUMB location on 58th Ave, right by that conjested LRT crossing, with no way to get in from anywhere but the south...

...a fellow northender, I always look with trepidation at a trip to L&M.
I know! Isn't that the worst location? Don't go during rush hour (which is 24/7 these days in Calgary)

Maybe you and I will be first in line when the new store opens in the north :banana:
 

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Well, hopefully, this will improve things. I absolutely hate M-S; if they don't have it in stock, then buy what's overpriced on the floor or get out. They really got upset when I started quoting Axe and LaMusic prices.

I'm hoping that they will be able to access L&M inventory and bring in stuff that I need, like lefty basses, Rotosound strings, Rickenbackers, Yorkies....

Oh! Maybe they will have a sale!
Mich
 

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L&m

I went to the one last year in Ottawa while visiting and I was under the impression that the people who work there are not musicians as they dont know anything. I was trying out a new Traynor Blue 15 watt tube combo and this salesperson comes over in his suit and tie and tells me to turn it down. I was flabbergasted and had to look twice to make sure I was in a music store. I'll not buy anything there again.
So now the people down east have what the rest of the country has..........high prices and crap service.
 

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Michelle said:
Well, hopefully, this will improve things. I absolutely hate M-S; if they don't have it in stock, then buy what's overpriced on the floor or get out. They really got upset when I started quoting Axe and LaMusic prices.

I'm hoping that they will be able to access L&M inventory and bring in stuff that I need, like lefty basses, Rotosound strings, Rickenbackers, Yorkies....

Oh! Maybe they will have a sale!
Mich
My thoughts exactly. Musicstop is hands down the worst music store I've ever been to. Absolutely brutal. Long and McQuade is full of smarmy salespeople that don't seem interested in helping you, but at least they have a good selection of overpriced instruments. :tongue:
 

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I agree with the above comments on the Calgary store, not a great location (I'm SW btw), but I've always found they have decent inventory and very fair pricing. Maybe the staff doesn't know as much as they should on the higher end gear (LP Historics for example), but that's such a small percentage of their sales I guess I can understand it.

My last purchase there, a couple of months ago, was a stage piano. I thought it'd be best to buy one off of Ebay and ship it in. L&M's retail was actually a bit cheaper than I could have landed one from the US.

The one thing I'd like to see at L&M is the ability to see their used guitar inventory across Canada on line.
 

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Gilliangirl said:
The L&McQ store in Calgary has always been awesome in my opinion. Mind you, I don't play electrics so my focus is quite limited. But every time I've gone in there, they've been so helpful, going out of their way to make me happy..... and they don't work on commission. I can always find what I'm looking for. If they don't have it, they order it in, and it comes in quickly. Some of them know who I am when I walk in there and always say hello. And they definitely don't have B stock guitars. They've got an amazing stock of acoustic guitars, in my opinion (altho' I usually don't get much past the Gibson wall LOL) My only complaint is that there's only one in Calgary, down south (I'm north). But, rumour has it that they're opening a new store next year in the north end. So, maybe we should all be buying stock in the company!
hell, it's better than the 17th ave location but i agree that it's tough to get to. i'm in the north now as well. i used to live in the south and could pop by on my way home. but not any more.

i deal with one or two guys there. and they're awesome to me. i've been buying my stuff from the same guy for almost 12 years. from back when we were both in regina.
 

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I don't mind the Calgary location, I stop in after work going south on Macleod Trail. Leave the back route via Fairmont or whatever it's called.

Larry treats me very well there and gets all my business because of it.

Jeff
 

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Gilliangirl said:
I know! Isn't that the worst location? Don't go during rush hour (which is 24/7 these days in Calgary)

Maybe you and I will be first in line when the new store opens in the north :banana:
I'll be the guy browsing the Mando section, or gooing over some tube amp....:wave:
 

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mandocaster said:
I'll be the guy browsing the Mando section, or gooing over some tube amp....:wave:
Sick. Everyone, make sure to wash your hands after trying any tube amps at that location! :banana:
 

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nine said:
Sick. Everyone, make sure to wash your hands after trying any tube amps at that location! :banana:
Nine'll be the nerdy looking guy handing out Baby Wipes at the door to the padded cell....Drool
 

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Interesting. I hadn't heard about this. I like the local Musicstop, but the fact that the guitar guys are both buddies of mine probably helps. The manager is a dick though - always was even before Musicstop bought him out a few years ago.

I can usually get pricing that's competitive, but it depends on the item. For example, Musicstop doesn't have a direct distributor for Celestion so their prices are insane - but it's because they basically have to buy the stuff retail & then mark it up to make a profit. If they can't compete on something price wise, they don't get uptight if I go elsewhere.

Now that they have access to L&M's resources it should improve things on that front (or maybe not). Prices locally on the Rock tend to be inflated anyway so hopefully this won't make it worse. L&M carries some brands that Musicstop doesn't, so maybe that'll help too.

I like them better than any other music store in St. John's, but again I have friends working there.
 

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I've had a couple of bad experiences at L&M here in Ottawa to a point that if I can avoid it, I'll never get anything from them. Last time, it was their yearly sale thing just a month ago or so. They had advertised on their flyer about the Audio Technica AT2020 with the ATH-M20 headphones for $99.00. I phoned earlier during the day (10:30am) to ask if there was any left and was told that there was still 2 or 3 left. I got there at 1:00pm and was told that it was already sold out which was fine with me. Thing was, I went around the store and found both products in a shelf in the store. I told the store clerk about it. He said he would check with the manager, who in turn told him to tell me that those are not the ones on sale. The ones which are on sale are in a "package" so if I want to buy the AT2020 and the M20 I would have to pay the regular price. They also had the ART Tube MP Studio preamp which was also supposed to be on sale, but was told that those sold out even before the store was opened!!! :confused-smiley-010 :confused-smiley-010

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I just didn't feel like arguing with them as I really didn't need the mic but only wanted to get it because it was on sale. Maybe I should've called the cops on them coz I think that's illegal to say you are have this product on sale for this amount and when you get to the store they say otherwise.

This is not the first time they have done something similar to this. The other time, was when I bought near-field monitors and stands. I was told there are no more stands. So I asked about the one they are using as a demo stand and again told that it was not forsale. I said "Fine, I'll go to Steve's" and started to walk out. Next thing, the sales clerk was after me saying they have some in their stockroom that was supposed to be "reserved" for someone and they are willing to sell it to me after all. Never understood why they didn't want to sell the stands to me.
 

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hey guys/gals...
I have found LandM new markham location...to be outstanding....at least the sales rep/manager
I have been dealing with...bought both my boogies there....very knowledgable..
though I might have to agree with the B quality guitar statement I read ..
I have found a lot of flaws and finish damage on the guitars I have looked at...

though I orginally tried to purchase in oshawa....and a kid they had working there managed to burn up a brand new LSS..right in front of me...
then offered to cut me a deal on the smoking lonestar....lol

I guess it basically depends on how much experience your sales reps have...

I also liked the Arts store in newmarket which was mentioned eariler in this thread....nice quality guitars there...

Auger
 

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The markham one is really good. I go there too much cause it's just down the road from me. There are a few guys in there that a pretty clueless but I usually don't have many questions and if I do I just don't ask them. The Oshawa one isn't too bad. I used to go there a lot before Markham opened. I still like The Arts the best.
 
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