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Sam Ash, Guitar Center. Back-door buddies?


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Hi Folks! A ways back I posted the local news that the slovenly and shifty-eyed Mars in the far out Richmond 'burbs was morphing into a Sam Ash, and asked you all whether you thought Ash would have my back in a knife-fight... Whell, that was several months ago, and a new neighbor just moved in right next to Sam Ash- I mean, sharing the same concrete blocks, roof, and parking lot- what I'm sayin' is that [i]a Guitar Center took over the space IMMEDIATELY beside Sam Ash![/i] I mean, would I have to dodge Molitov cocktails to get in either one? I guess it's one less trip for the Zildjian rep, but :freak: !!!
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[quote]Originally posted by Cereal: [b]it may be a good thing for both stores. look at all the big outlets in hollywood right next to each other. Sam Ash GC Manny's Carvin Mega Boogie Freedom Guitar a few others... it creates a synergy. the sum is greater than its parts.[/b][/quote]Really? The big cahouts, then? I should have known...
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It's competition. I've seen other business do this too. We've got a Lowes and a Home Depot RIGHT across the street from each other. Ditto Borders and Barnes & Nobel. It seems like suicide to me, but these guys like to fight it out. And, they all seem to stay in business. I suggest you sit back and enjoy the ride... Get these guys in a knife fight over selling you a set of strings or something. The only downside I can see is that their salespeople probably get next to NO commission! :( But that is not your fault...

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48th Street used to be that way, until Sam Ash bought up everything including Manny's. It'll work if the different stores carry some different things. If they just duplicate each other's offerings, it will be pointless.

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[quote]Originally posted by coyote: [b]48th Street used to be that way, until Sam Ash bought up everything including Manny's.[/b][/quote]What??? They actually took over that building too? So where is Manny's now? Being from NY, I miss being able to take the train down to 48th St. just to window shop every once in a while!
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[quote]Originally posted by fantasticsound: [b]I've seen music stores in very close proximity to one another, but in the same building, right next door to one another? Not two behemoths like Ash and GC. :eek: :freak: Very strange indeed.[/b][/quote]In Garland TX, [Dallas, Suburb] there is 2 stores next to each other, Speirs Music & Zoo Music.

 

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It's still "Manny's," but Sam Ash owns it. Strange. 48th used to be cool.

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This proximity battle happened all over NJ when GC came into being. It's straight competition, and something more... First of all, you can have price-wars between the two stores ("This'll cost $200" "I can get it at GC for $189!" "OK, I'll give it to you for $179"). Secondly, it's interesting to see the mobility of the good sales people from one store to another. The guitar player in my band used to be at SamAsh in Paramus, so I was in there a lot, and got to know the salesfolks (and the hearns..). Each time I go there now, another has gone to GC, who apparently pay better and look for more knowledgeable sales people. I still have friends at SA, but I find myself more and more at GC, just because I know and trust the salespeople there a bit more. Re: Manny's...yeah, gone but not forgotten from NYC. Remember that old beat-to-shit DanElectro guitar they used to keep behind the counter so folks could test out amps? 15 different colors, 'cause it had been scratched, dropped, chipped and beaten up and tossed around that place for years. I would have given a kidney for that thing! Word, Tim from Jersey :thu:
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When I worked at Daddy's Junky Music's Boston store in the '80s, there were three stores that were within easy walking distance of each other (Daddy's, LaSalle Music, E.U. Wurlitzer's). While it is true that people walked back and forth, frequently playing us against each other, the upside was that usually one of us sold them gear. We all did a ton of business, because the question went from "should I buy" to "from WHOM should I buy"? dB
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Just like everyone else said it's very common in retail. Big businesses are by nature predatory. if you really want to snake all of the customers from your competition where is there an easier place to do it? That's right, get them at the front door. vrey rarely will you find a AutoZone too far away from an advance auto parts.

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[quote]Originally posted by Hanshananigan: [b]Hi Folks! A ways back I posted the local news that the slovenly and shifty-eyed Mars in the far out Richmond 'burbs was morphing into a Sam Ash, and asked you all whether you thought Ash would have my back in a knife-fight... Whell, that was several months ago, and a new neighbor just moved in right next to Sam Ash- I mean, sharing the same concrete blocks, roof, and parking lot- what I'm sayin' is that [i]a Guitar Center took over the space IMMEDIATELY beside Sam Ash![/i] I mean, would I have to dodge Molitov cocktails to get in either one? I guess it's one less trip for the Zildjian rep, but :freak: !!![/b][/quote]Word on the street is that Sam Ash is taking over all the old MARS leases where they do not already have a presence because business is so good! Go figure: MARS cannot make a go of it but both GC and Sam Ash are going gangbusters! I really wish I could get some kind of a feel for how this MI Retail thing works because when I worked for MARS, I was SURE that we were going to make it! How wrong I was; I am still not 100% sure I ever got a satisfactory explination as to exactly what went wrong with MARS, all I get are half stories and shrugged shoulders whenever I try to press the issue; leads me to the conclusion that there were things going on behind the scenes that none of us will ever know about. :confused:
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Actually, there was a very subtle difference between the way Mars did business and the way GC and SA operate. The OfficeMax/Depot model, which is what Mars' biz plan was based on doesn't work for MI. While MI is getting to be more of a commodity every day, each individual purchase is definitely not. It's all based on user experience. It's weird, isn't it? You'd think it would work...but then again, buying even guitar strings is not like buying copier paper or a pen. It's still an individualized, singular purchase. GC and Ash used to use the car dealer model ("how much is this keyboard?" "Well, how much are you willing to pay?"), but now it's sort of a hybrid. I kind of like it. By the way, you can get some decent deals by exploiting their "lowest advertised price" policy. It's amazing what you can do with Photoshop and an internet connection. :D

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[quote]Originally posted by mikegrijak: [b]...I really wish I could get some kind of a feel for how this MI Retail thing works because when I worked for MARS, I was SURE that we were going to make it! How wrong I was; I am still not 100% sure I ever got a satisfactory explination as to exactly what went wrong with MARS, all I get are half stories and shrugged shoulders whenever I try to press the issue; leads me to the conclusion that there were things going on behind the scenes that none of us will ever know about. :confused: [/b][/quote]It's very simple, actually. Inflexibility and other poor management at corporate. I won't reiterate past threads, other than to say I had specific ideas I shared with upper management that they summarily ignored. Each issue was a daily drain on MARS' resources. Add to that there obsession with immediate expansion and you have a recipe for disaster. The only reason the Office Depot model didn't work is people don't [i]need[/i] musical instruments. There is a large segment of our population that need office supplies, regardless of the country's economic woes. Some excellent ideas were lost because MARS moved to quickly without a proven MI model.

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When companies like GC, Sam Ash, and Mars are looking for new locations, they research demographics. Guess what? Voila - just like three people doing Mapquest requests for specific directions, each company gets the same results. Also, GC is very agressive in going head-to-head with competitors. They routinely opened new locations within a mile of new Mars locations. As for Mars (and yes, this has been covered in other threads), they could have succeeded. The projections were too overblown at the beginning, and by the time things were scaled back, it was too late (and the economy had turned sour). A music store chain is still a viable model, as GC has proven. In my book, GC, Sam Ash, and Mars are all basically the same thing with minor differences.
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[quote]Originally posted by ZekeSmith: [b]It's still "Manny's," but Sam Ash owns it. Strange. 48th used to be cool.[/b][/quote]Are you saying that Sam Ash owns Manny's? Or that Sam Ash owns the building on 48th Street and Manny's leases the space from Sam Ash? Just wondering.
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