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#3116077 11/04/21 05:53 PM
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The COVID-19 pandemic saved Guitar Center from bankruptcy

Less than a year ago, the retail chain hit rock bottom, but months of quarantine changed all that

“Guitar Center was in pretty dire straits (get it?) last year. After months of hard, quarantined times the musical instrument retail chain/Mecca for 13-year-olds playing “Smoke on the Water” and “Crazy Train”
was $1.3 billion in debt, forcing execs to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November 2020. While officials swore it wasn’t the end for the company, things looked pretty grim. And then, incidentally, things
got really grim on a global scale... but not for Guitar Center, apparently.

Although COVID-19 “wiped out” ten consecutive financial quarters’ worth of growth, NPR explains “something completely unexpected happened.” Suddenly, people began purchasing guitars “like crazy,”
and the company now forecasts next year to be its best in history. What’s more, sales from this year are projected to reach a record $2.5 billion.”

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I'm not surprised, and I wouldn't think that all of that revenue is solely due to sales of Guitars. Ukuleles were having a BIG comeback, even before the pandemic hit, for example.

FWIW, I got my Taylor 110CE, the last Guitar I bought, at my nearest GC, on Friday March 13th, 2020. Because that location was parked in the upper interior level of an indoor mall, they got hit with a double whammy during the pandemic. Indoor malls were among the first closures, and among the last places to be allowed to re-open. While other GC locations with street-level access were open for mail order service or curbside pickup, the fourth floor of an indoor mall was a dead zone.


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It took over 5 million deaths world wide to get Guitar Center out of bankruptcy.
Lots of small businesses have disappeared forever, costing owners everything.

Last edited by surfergirl; 11/04/21 07:16 PM.

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I bought my Super Champ X2 this year from Guitar Center, so I did my part to keep them open. Usually I shop Sweetwater these days, but Guitar Center was the only one who had an SCX2 Combo as they were discontinued many months before I bought mine. One of the best amps I ever owned, That and my Egnater Tweaker 15 watt head. Both stunningly beautiful in both clean and overdrive tones thanks to the Hemp cone speakers for both amps. I did have a hemp cone in the Hot Rod Deluxe I sold a year or so back. And it was my all time favorite until it got too heavy to lug around in my almost 80 year old body.

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It's good to hear that GC is going to pull themselves out of bankruptcy and offer an IPO on the stock market for investors. +1 DBM I too bought a guitar this year from MF which is joined at the hip with GC AFAIK. I know there were a lot of people looking for a way to entertain themselves due to the pandemic. But a lot of them were also out of work. So I'm not ready to make the leap that the pandemic is the main reason GC came back to life. I'm glad GC survived all the looting that was going on in some of our major cities this past year of our big box stores... cool


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Originally Posted by surfergirl
It took over 5 million deaths world wide to get Guitar Center out of bankruptcy.
Lots of small businesses have disappeared forever, costing owners everything.

I know what you mean. And there is much to lament about the past couple of years, and everything concerning Covid-19. I really can relate.

To be fair, or more accurate, it wasn't the deaths from Covid, that caused Guitar Center's sales- and the banner-year sales in the musical instrument industry all across the board- it was the "shutdowns", and greater numbers of people staying home, that caused so many people to buy instruments, BUILD instruments, and buy related items.

Covid-19 caused both the shutdowns, and the vast numbers of terrible deaths.

I think a lot of people turned to music to feel better, to make sense of things and/or distract and escape from things, and it's brought many people together, particularly over the internet as people perform online and exchange information about building or repairing instruments, amps, pedals, new music or music new to them...

It's like when a forest fire or volcano causes devastation, but also catalyzes rebirth and growth in nature and in human societal constructs.

Kind of.


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Here's more of the story of how Guitar Center is finding it's way out of bankruptcy.

https://www.retaildive.com/news/guitar-center-exits-bankruptcy/

The pandemic did play a small role in sales and next year looks even better, but there were other major financial factors agreed to in the Chapter 11 agreements and the lockdowns did not help as many stores were boarded up...

cool

Last edited by Larryz; 11/05/21 02:01 PM.

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Originally Posted by Caevan O'Shite
Originally Posted by surfergirl
It took over 5 million deaths world wide to get Guitar Center out of bankruptcy.
Lots of small businesses have disappeared forever, costing owners everything.

I know what you mean. And there is much to lament about the past couple of years, and everything concerning Covid-19. I really can relate.

To be fair, or more accurate, it wasn't the deaths from Covid, that caused Guitar Center's sales- and the banner-year sales in the musical instrument industry all across the board- it was the "shutdowns", and greater numbers of people staying home, that caused so many people to buy instruments, BUILD instruments, and buy related items.

Covid-19 caused both the shutdowns, and the vast numbers of terrible deaths.

I think a lot of people turned to music to feel better, to make sense of things and/or distract and escape from things, and it's brought many people together, particularly over the internet as people perform online and exchange information about building or repairing instruments, amps, pedals, new music or music new to them...

It's like when a forest fire or volcano causes devastation, but also catalyzes rebirth and growth in nature and in human societal constructs.

Kind of.

Yes, COVID was not a good thing in any way... I just posted this because, if you remember, I've been tracking the slow, deliberate (on the part of Bain Capital) death rattle of Guitar Center here for over a decade... this is an unexpected end to that story, or a twist, at least.

If we could not have COVID (and keep the people we've lost) and lose Guitar Center, I'd happily take that trade!!!

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Originally Posted by p90jr
Yes, COVID was not a good thing in any way... I just posted this because, if you remember, I've been tracking the slow, deliberate (on the part of Bain Capital) death rattle of Guitar Center here for over a decade... this is an unexpected end to that story, or a twist, at least.

If we could not have COVID (and keep the people we've lost) and lose Guitar Center, I'd happily take that trade!!!

Definitely understood. On all counts. I knew what you meant and where you were coming from.


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If it sounded like I'm anti Guitar Center, I'm not. I'm just pro small business and over 13000 businesses have closed in Hawaii. I believe that along with Nevada we were the hardest hit and had the highest unemployment. We have two big businesses in Waialua, a Napa auto parts store and Pyzel Surfboards. I like visiting Guitar Center but I try to spend my money at www.easymusiccenter.com

Last edited by surfergirl; 11/05/21 09:42 PM.

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Originally Posted by surfergirl
If it sounded like I'm anti Guitar Center, I'm not. I'm just pro small business and over 13000 businesses have closed in Hawaii. I believe that along with Nevada we were the hardest hit and had the highest unemployment. We have two big businesses in Waialua, a Napa auto parts store and Pyzel Surfboards. I like visiting Guitar Center but I try to spend my money at www.easymusiccenter.com

Looks like a cool store..:)

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Originally Posted by zxcvbnm098
Originally Posted by surfergirl
If it sounded like I'm anti Guitar Center, I'm not. I'm just pro small business and over 13000 businesses have closed in Hawaii. I believe that along with Nevada we were the hardest hit and had the highest unemployment. We have two big businesses in Waialua, a Napa auto parts store and Pyzel Surfboards. I like visiting Guitar Center but I try to spend my money at www.easymusiccenter.com

Looks like a cool store..:)
They are. I did a clinic there a while ago when I worked for Alesis, and have had a few chances to work with them over the years. Good people...
I'm definitely a poster boy for the COVID-fueled guitar craze. I sold/traded some synths and got eight (!) electrics and two acoustics. w00t

dB

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Not sure about Guitar Center, but I was surprised last night when a random web search for a very specific saxophone ligature showed that Sweetwater now carries brasswinds and woodwinds.

Of course Guitar Center has owned on-line retailer WWBW for some time now (formerly a retail store chain) and carries reeds and accessories for band instruments in many of its stores.

My own speculation, along the lines of the 'ukulele revival, is that Guitar Center has become a family store for school and personal music projects vs. a Guitar God wannabe store.


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Originally Posted by Mark Schmieder
Not sure about Guitar Center, but I was surprised last night when a random web search for a very specific saxophone ligature showed that Sweetwater now carries brasswinds and woodwinds.
If memory serves, several years ago Chuck Surack bought the local store where he used to shop for saxes when he was a kid.

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And of course Fort Wayne is pretty darn close to most of America's major woodwind and brasswind manufacturers (Elkhart IN).


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Now that the government has stopped sending free money for nothing (stimulus checks) I wonder if GC will fall back to economic disarray?


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Originally Posted by RABid
Now that the government has stopped sending free money for nothing (stimulus checks) I wonder if GC will fall back to economic disarray?

Music instrumets, boardgames, surfboards, exercise equipment, and more saw big increases during the pandemic. It would be unrealistic to think sales will not go backwards when life returns to some form of normalcy.


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Originally Posted by RABid
Now that the government has stopped sending free money for nothing (stimulus checks) I wonder if GC will fall back to economic disarray?

I guess it depends on how well it's run by the new owners?


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Today's mail included a promo from Guitar Center - "Biggest Sale of the Year" Nov. 25 - 28.
Over and done, fail...


It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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Originally Posted by KuruPrionz
Today's mail included a promo from Guitar Center - "Biggest Sale of the Year" Nov. 25 - 28.
Over and done, fail...

That's a USPS bulk mail failure... and it was intentionally set up to fail by Postmaster DeJoy. It's driving us crazy at my dayjob.

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I have been working at surfboard factory for about 2 months now. I'm learning to sand and polish and eventually to glass.
What has happened is a large influx of beginner surfers who are now moving from $300 to $500 boards to higher quality boards and we can barely keep up with the orders. I would anticipate the same thing could happen in the guitar industry. If so the future could be very bright.


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Originally Posted by surfergirl
I have been working at surfboard factory for about 2 months now. I'm learning to sand and polish and eventually to glass.
What has happened is a large influx of beginner surfers who are now moving from $300 to $500 boards to higher quality boards and we can barely keep up with the orders. I would anticipate the same thing could happen in the guitar industry. If so the future could be very bright.

You could be right Surfergirl. I was recently given the go-ahead on an estate accumulation of guitars and I've sold 11 guitars in about a week. The prices I've gotten were reasonable for used guitars in good condition.
One customer has come back twice after his first purchase and now owns 3 of the guitars.

I was expecting it to take longer, I do still have 5 guitars that need new homes but I don't anticipate that being too difficult.


It took a chunk of my life to get here and I am still not sure where "here" is.
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