Collateral Damage:  Instrument Retailers

An unfortunate result of the pandemic has been the economic impact on musical instrument retailers, local businesses that equip bands with an array of gear to perform.  As unemployment grows, disposable income shrinks, and other related financial pressures mount for individuals and families, discretionary expenses have been hit extremely hard.  From that new guitar, amp, keyboard, drum kit, brass instrument, microphone, and/or accessories, even as small as drumsticks and guitar strings, the economic slowdown has devastated brick and mortar instrument stores. 

There are many occasions when a non-touring/amateur musician performs at a bar or other local venue and doesn’t carry extra back-up gear, unlike their counterpart professional bands who are operationally self-sufficient on tour.  When in need, the local band is forced to run out to find a music store before a gig to make a last minute  purchase — this creates additional pressure before they play.  The impact of these retailers shuttering their doors, with prospects of potentially never reopening, will create greater time and financial challenges for bands long-term, even once past the pandemic.  Bands will have to readjust their planning, both fiscally and in managing pre-performance time.

Photo Courtesy of Belinda Kristen, EZ Stores

Music instrument retailers depend on musicians/bands to be playing and performing a lot, it turns them into more frequent customers.  Without the ability to perform live as frequently, bands are not burning through or needing gear as often.  Ask any serious musician, they love spending time researching, testing, and shopping for equipment at a local store.  The brick and mortar retailer is a favorite haunt for many, and so it’s sad to see many of them closing their doors.  Hopefully, when things start to improve and bands get back to playing out, the bands and open venues can help to bring back some of these local instrument retailers.        

Who are some of your favorite musical instrument retailers? Have you ever experienced that last minute crunch-time need before hitting the stage? We’d love to hear your stories!

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