How to Break In and Succeed in Nearly “Recession Proof” Business”…We run into some churches who don’t want to come out of the 19th century, and joke about bringing them into the 20th century,” says John Rook, of the retail music store Instrumental Influence. But that is changing, and houses of worship are increasingly turning to their local MI retailer to help with everything from getting a new mic to planning a major install of audio, lighting, and video equipment into the new church they are building. MI dealers in smaller, more rural markets are especially benefiting from understanding how to provide for this market.
After 60 years in the piano and organ business, 85-year-old Victor Tibaldeo is retiring. Victor is the owner of Victor Pianos and Organs, located in five two-story showroom buildings in downtown Miami. He is selling his business, buildings, and even some luxury condominiums. But, as MMR found out, Victor may not be ready to exit the stage just yet.
MMR recently spoke with piano dealers from around the country to get a sense of trends in the market and how businesses are coping with an unstable economy. Like many, dealers expressed concern about the spike in gas prices and explained the adjustments they have had to make. Despite new economic challenges, for both dealers and consumers, most dealers report that sales of digital pianos have remained strong. However, most report that overall sales in 2008 have been down. Some dealers are choosing to refocus on institutional sales, while others are looking to gain new customers from the student market and recreational music making.
Move Will Make Big Box Electronics Retailer “Number Two” In Number of Outlets…First a trickle, Now a flood. Richfield, Minn.-based electronics retailer Best Buy will open up to 85 of its music centers by the end of the year, and may add more locations in the future. The sealed off 2,500-square-foot departments will be called “Best Buy Musical Instruments,” and the move will make Best Buy the second largest MI retailer in number of units in the country, after Guitar Center.
A Life Preserver During Economic Downturns…For Meridian Music’s Craig Gigax, he’ll keep up with the Joneses, sure–he’s just not waiting for them. “Mr. and Mrs. Jones aren’t walking into our showroom lately, and they aren’t responding to our outside sales events like the usually do, so the emphasis today is on institutional sales,” Gigax says. “Without it, we’d have had a very tough couple of years.”