As with most segments of the MI trade – and the consumer market overall – percussion sales are feeling the pinch of a highly unstable economy. Interestingly, however, in this recent MMR poll of percussion retailers, there was greater parity than one might have expected when folks reported their overall sales in 2008 compared to 2007 (Level: 33%, Up: 31%, Down: 36%). Merchants are drawing upon increased traffic in accessory purchases, exploring more specialized niche markets such as vintage instrument sales, and paying even closer attention to the interests and needs of their customers in order to thrive.
“I think any independent retailer can set themselves apart from the Guitar Centers, and now the Best Buys, through guerilla marketing,” Jon Kluiter says. And he and partner Pat Redd have certainly made their case with Funky Munky. The unusually named store, located in Shawnee, Kansas, a suburb of Kansas City, looks like your better-than-average store at first glance, but dig a little deeper, and innovative, fresh initiatives make this shop anything but traditional.
The question is this: What to do in a down economy, especially if you’re in a smaller market? At the last NAMM show, I spent several evenings over wine and dinner with different retail owners, all sharing and brainstorming for ideas. I took several suggestions away and since have instituted each and every one of them with success.
“One of the single most important factors that has made Zeswitz such a strong force in our region is the longevity an dedication of the employees,” says Rick Dietrich, executive vice president Zeswitz Music. “The Zeswitz family cultivated this organization and even being after being sold, and going through a bankruptcy, only one employee resigned.”
Despite the worst week ever recorded in the worldwide economic markets, the Music China and Pro Light & Sound Shanghai Show, which took place October 9-12, bucked the trend and provided a strong flow of buyers and reports of positive business.
In this bustling metropolis of nearly 20 million people, the burgeoning middle and upper classes were widely visible in their Audis, Mercedes Benz, BMWs, and especially Buicks, which have a special cache in China. Shanghai is undergoing a tremendous economic growth and you can see new bridges, roads and buildings being built throughout the city. There is a unique blend of traditional Chinese history offset by ultramodern, western style skyscrapers that highlight the landscape and make a powerful statement that Shanghai is on the cutting edge both economically and culturally.