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Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone?

Posted By: WILLIAM C. HAUGHT

Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 03:59 AM

Over the past few years, we have all seen many piano dealers suffer through some very hard times. Is it because of the decrease in the emphasis on the arts in our education system? Could it be the economic state of the United States? Might it be the invasion of the internet sellers? Or, has it become too expensive, by way of floor plan interest, advertising, etc. for the independent retailer to make it??? Are the manufacturers helping the retailers like they did in the 70's, 80's and 90's? Why has the desire to be in the piano retail business become just a desire and not a reality to our young business investors as, even according to our own trade magizine articles, the net profit nationwide averages in the low single digit percentages? Not one personal opinion do I post. I would like to see what the masses of professional dealers and piano forum populations feel is causing this.

Respectfully,
Posted By: TX-Dennis

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 06:50 AM

I think it isn't just the piano business. How many independent grocery stores are left? How about hardware stores? Funeral parlors? Automobile dealerships even? Retailing and the service industries were once the bastion of independent "mom & pop" businesses. That is less true every year.
Posted By: Monica K.

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 01:02 PM

Or bookstores? Or farms? Hairstylists? Coffee stores? (Starbucks, anybody?) I agree with you, TX-Dennis; it's not clear to me that this is a problem hitting only, or particularly, the piano industry.

We need our economists (yoo-hoo, piano*dad! laugh ) to offer an opinion as to whether trends in the piano industry are any different than the overall retail/service industry.
Posted By: Brian Bennett

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 01:53 PM

At one time not so long ago, a piano was a very common place item in the home, almost a tradition. TV, XBOX, Playstation, and the Nintendo have taken over as priority. There is apparently no problem on spending 10-20K for a home theatre setup, but you are mad if you drop that much money, or more, on a piano.

From my recent shopping experiences the piano business is very cutthroat and not getting easier.

B
Posted By: Piano*Dad

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 02:14 PM

Um, Monica, that's not what I study.

Nonetheless, I can offer two general comments. Franchising tends to have a number of beneficial effects, some on the supply side of the market and others on the demand side.

First, franchising can lower overall cost by economizing on a number of specific things. If there are scale economies in the provision of any inputs, then large scale provision of those inputs results in lower cost. Some of that benefit (or most of it, in the long run) gets passed on to consumers, but some of it goes to firms in the form of higher returns. Advertising may be one of those inputs where a scale economy might be present. I'm sure there are others as well in each industry where franchising has made significant inroads.

Another benefit, on the demand side, is that consumers may view a franchised product as a lower risk purchase (other things equal). You know that a MacDonalds fry is what it is in Seattle and in Miami, and the MacDonalds corp. works assiduously to ensure that the raw materials AND the processing by its franchises leads to that uniformity (at least within a given cultural space).

The independent firm may have certain advantages as well. Where the product produced is on a small scale there is much less benefit from franchising. Hence no Jordan-Kitts of Steingraeber. Also, in industries where service is important (not just a homogeneous product) the benefits of uniformity may be lower. Here, the retailer who knows local preferences may be able to fill a niche effectively.

The problem for pianos, of course, is that many consumers may think of them like MacDonalds fries ....a big black homogeneous lump, and in the case of entry level pianos one that they want for the lowest possible price. They may not know about (or care about, even if they know) any other service the dealership might offer. The afficianados argue that pianos are all individual and that what a dealer does to them is crucial for presenting them at their best. But independent dealers (all dealers, actually) have some trouble communicating the meaning of that service to customers since it's a hidden process and it requires some skill to discern its effects.

In many markets, it's not perfectly clear that franchises are destroying independent retailers. They may also be expanding the market. I think of this every time I go to my local coffee house. It roasts its own beans and provides a diversity of coffees that you will never see at the ubiquitous Starbucks. As long as there is a demand for that variety, there will be a market niche for independent firms.
Posted By: piqué

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 02:51 PM

the dealers i have spoken with about this say it is the internet that has changed everything for them.

that, and cheap chinese pianos that are getting better and better....

and the devaluing of the u.s. dollar isn't helping, either.
Posted By: Kenny Blankenship

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 03:03 PM

What pique said...
Posted By: Furtwangler

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 03:06 PM

What Kenny and Pique said.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 04:00 PM

That's not all of it.

When one looks at total sales, be they Chinese or not, and compares those sales to total sales numbers from decades before, we find that sales are most definitely in decline, even though the population of the United States has added over 100,000,000 to its population within my lifetime.

Chinese and the internet may be factors, but they cannot explain drastically declining sales in the midst of a major increase in the number of possible consumers.

The fact is that consumers have voted with their feet, and the acoustic piano is fast on its way to being a niche instrument. And when it does...

Most of us won't be able to afford one.
Posted By: Diane...

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 04:30 PM

I remember when every home had to have a piano and a cat!
Posted By: J. Mark

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 04:43 PM

We need more than one cat. My dog eats them.
Posted By: Piano*Dad

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 04:54 PM

Isn't dog food cheaper. laugh
Posted By: J. Mark

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 04:57 PM

You mean, people pay for cats? Get outta town!?
Posted By: Diane...

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 05:07 PM

Blame it on the slogan, Upgrade Me"!

The cat's been upgraded to "fido".

The "piano" has been upgraded/downgraded to a "threatre room" with surround sound!
Posted By: Ron Gardiner

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 06:30 PM

There seems to be several categories of piano consumers.

First time family purchase

Upscale Furniture/investment Buyer (includes players)

Serious , skilled Pianists/ advanced players

The piano market is missing that entry level first time buyer. There are several reasons for this. Gas prices have taken away the piano monthly payment. First time house / home equity LOC not available, multiple after school activities, Techno toys/ time on the internet.

The acoustic piano is slowly becoming a buggy whip for which there is an Amish market. With the importance that the keyboard plays in music theory and fundamentals, as long as we continue to embrace the diatonic basis for instruction there will be a need for Keyboard. Quite frankly, the pie gets smaller, annually.

There will be a need for fine performance instruments, and conservatory quality practise instruments, etc.

Increasing the pie, is the increasing challenge for the acoustic piano survival. More and more Piano stores are struggling to survive. Over supply and soft market trends continue to present challenges.

The signifigance, importance of music learning for the young child needs to be advertised far more vividly than the next College Sale. Major Event sales are an important component for today's dealer. However, they will be of little consequence, if we don't reach the potential new Piano Players. Keyboard instruction in elementary and middle school should become part of the Fine Arts curriculum.

Harold Smith had it right: Concentration, Coordination, and Confidence. These are the benefits from studying piano that become lifelong attributes.
Posted By: SCCDoug

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 06:44 PM

The overall lack of demand for accoustics may also be impacting the private used market. There was an article in our local newspaper this weekend about the decline in the value of used pianos. One of the interviewed technicians blamed the change on the glut of older pianos entering the market from retiring baby boomers who are downsizing to smaller homes or condos. However, it was also pointed out that at, say $1,000, the cost of moving and tuning a used piano represents a significant percentage of the total cost, especially for something with an uncertain life expectancy. With digital pianos undercutting the very low end, and entry level new Chinese pianos starting at $2,500 - the inexpensive used piano has become unattractive to most buyers. One rebuilder commented about how sad it was that many decent instruments with years of life left in them were simply going out to the dump; they can't even be given away.
Posted By: Brian Bennett

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 06:47 PM

Quote
Harold Smith had it right: Concentration, Coordination, and Confidence. These are the benefits from studying piano that become lifelong attributes.
I couldn't agree more. I don't care if either of my children(both just starting), ever become accomplished musicians. The benefits they gain as mentioned above will translate into an ability to teach themselves and their offspring anything-the ultimate parental litmus test.
Posted By: Kenny Blankenship

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 08:03 PM

I think a good portion of the used market implosion can be attributed to better quality, better feeling digital pianos. These as you know can be purchased from Costcos, BJ's, etc and not necc. the local dealer.
Posted By: turandot

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 09:29 PM

from Ron Gardiner
Quote
The piano market is missing that entry level first time buyer. There are several reasons for this. Gas prices have taken away the piano monthly payment. First time house / home equity LOC not available, multiple after school activities, Techno toys/ time on the internet.
Agree on all. One other factor is that so many piano retailers condemn present-day entry-level pianos either because of their national origin, their small margin for profit, their limitations vis-a-vis more expensive pianos, or their lack of a track record. Most industries realize that entry-level sales are important to the health of up-market sales. Not so in the piano industry!

Jettisoning the base of your product pyramid is a bit short-sighted.
Posted By: Jolly

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 09:34 PM

Quote
However, it was also pointed out that at, say $1,000, the cost of moving and tuning a used piano represents a significant percentage of the total cost, especially for something with an uncertain life expectancy.
Anybody who'd charge $1000 for a single story to single story move + tuning, should be lined up against a wall and shot.

Unless they're moving a piano from New York to L.A....
Posted By: piqué

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 11:02 PM

Quote
The fact is that consumers have voted with their feet, and the acoustic piano is fast on its way to being a niche instrument. And when it does...

Most of us won't be able to afford one.
i don't know that that follows.

the price of new pianos keeps dropping--increasing supply from china, loss of demand from customers.

what will the ultimate correction to the market look like? hard to say.

otoh, we had a rennaissance of interest in the grand piano in the 90s. that can happen again if the conditions are right.

celebrating the piano and what it does for our souls online here certainly has a positive effect. there's a very interesting story by alex ross in the new yorker this past week about how the internet has revived interest in classical music. it's available to read online, if you hurry.

same thing could happen to the piano, if enough of us talk about why the piano is important to us, reminding others of what might be meaningful about it for them...
Posted By: theJourney

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 11:24 PM

THE ENVIRONMENT

loss of cultural treasures such as delayed gratification, working for a long term goal, instilling discipline, active home entertainment, passing on an appreciation for art, music, etc.

THE MARKET
declining market for home music making and keyboard musical instruments an sich

improving substitutes (electronic keyboards) from easier to shop and able-to-survive-on-lower-margin s retailers (mass marketers)

THE BUSINESS MODEL
"scissor" working impacting independent retailer viability (low volume becomes lower volume & average price points and realized margin decrease while costs of doing business stay the same or increase: rent, employees & difficult to reach and communicate with fragmented target market)

independent retailers have not adapted to modern consumer expectations for the shopping experience

consumer habits change from frequenting mom and pop stores to being loyal to big box mass merchandisers, clubs and internet channels

A WAY FORWARD
A successful independent piano dealer cannot be in the piano business but must rather be in the:

- building successful university graduates in law and medicine starting today in pre-school business, or
- re-living nostalgic moments through the magic of home players business, or
- providing access to the chique and cultured world of grand piano filled great rooms business, or
- fulfilling the long held dreams of mid-life crisis angst filled, grand piano calisthenic coveters business, or
- giving new meaning to retirement and personal growth business, or

...

and get out there and chase the customers down instead of passively waiting for them to drop by.

If all you have to sell are buggy whips in a car filled world, then you need to open yourself up to e.g. the adult S&M market or you will face a slow death.
Posted By: piqué

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/22/07 11:27 PM

is that another way of saying that dealers have to diversify?
Posted By: Norbert

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 12:18 AM

Quote
is that another way of saying that dealers have to diversify?
Yes - by *pre-determining your customer base*.

If you like to be "everything to everybody" these days - good luck!

Dedicate yourself to a *market niche* that still cares about quality: "affordable" if need be - then give it your all!

[Including the occasional evening or Sunday afternoon.... frown ]

You'll do just fine....

Norbert smile
Posted By: Friday Harbor

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 12:26 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Diane...:
The "piano" has been upgraded/downgraded to a "threatre room" with surround sound!
We just bought a piano and got rid of our TV! With young kids in the house, it was a pretty easy choice.
Posted By: SCCDoug

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 02:51 AM

Quote
However, it was also pointed out that at, say $1,000, the cost of moving and tuning a used piano represents a significant percentage of the total cost
Sorry not to be clear Jolly - but the $1,000 would be the price of the piano - not the move. But, you are still looking at a couple of hundred dollars to move a piano by professionals.
Posted By: PSS

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 03:12 AM

Quote
Originally posted by J. Mark:
You mean, people pay for cats? Get outta town!?
They thow'm in for free down here with the purchase of an egg roll... laugh laugh laugh
Posted By: Van

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 08:20 AM

It's a simple demand curve, when the prices are too high, demand dries up, this is especially true as pianos as fungible (replaceable with digital pianos that costs less by a factor of 10).

Lack of price transparency is another factor. People are just not going to put up with deceptive sticker prices that have no basis in reality, or they end up confused and thinking that pianos are priced outside their budget.
Posted By: PoStTeNeBrAsLuX

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 08:38 AM

Van:
pianos as fungible

Only when there is excessively high humidity wink

-Michael B.
Posted By: theJourney

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 08:53 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Friday Harbor:
Quote
Originally posted by Diane...:
[b] The "piano" has been upgraded/downgraded to a "threatre room" with surround sound!
We just bought a piano and got rid of our TV! With young kids in the house, it was a pretty easy choice. [/b]
thumb
Posted By: Mat D.

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 01:59 PM

I hate to sound like a cynic, but as much as there have been many good potential causes for piano ownership decline presented here, I think it may also be caused by a general "dumbing down" of our culture. I would have bet my life (glad I didn't) when rap music came into popularity that it would have been long gone within 5 years...wrong! ...kinda tells you something...maybe turntable sales are up...not a good thing IMO.

In the bigger picture, it seems technology has probably had the biggest negative impact on piano sales (in a round about way). Just the fact that people spend (in many cases) hours a day surfing the net when they could have been practicing the piano. Kids can buy music software that will make lots of "noise" right out of the box...why learn fundamentals (code word for practice & hard work) when you can buy a box that will do it all for you....and in many cases, it will do it for you using 'samples' from previously recorded pieces of someone elses music! With these instant results, why would a kid be motivated to actually learn music....it goes on and on and the examples abound (no time to write more)....Again, I hate to sound cynical, but I'm finding it hard not to feel this way on this subject.

BTW, this is coming from a guy who makes his living as a music Arranger/Producer/recorder...I'm so glad I grew up at a time when learning music was important! You can't believe how many kids think they can do what I do because what is on their computer screen looks the same as what is on mine.....not so...music is still music and fundamentals ARE important...

Mat D.
Posted By: J. Mark

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 04:24 PM

I go back and forth on this. Many years ago, when I was a serious student of people like Herbert Marcuse, and of course Marx, I spent a great deal of time agonizing over the death of the human spirit. Alas.

I was so much older then....

Sure, the changes we are seeing in our society are frightening to many of us. Technological advances have never in human history proceeded with such geometric speed. And yes, many previously "cherished" skills, and perhaps entire artistic genre or even mediums will fall by the wayside...or be "lost", depending on your perspective.

But I have to believe the human spirit, and the drive to create, is stronger than all that. Was it Ad Reinhardt who announced "the end of art" with his black canvas (I forget)? Yet, to my thinking, the greatest examples of visual art in human history (so far) have come in the form of modern film...which just gets more and more complex with time (compare the "special effects" of films even as recent as Lucas's early work with the current stuff).

So I think the changes will just provide new media and new concepts and art forms, and creativity will continue and will prosper. heck, some of the kids I know these days are just incredibly creative, but in ways I can barely understand (never mind emulate).

Ahh, but the piano! Who the heck knows? Maybe it will end up on the same list as the harpsichord... a lovely and relatively rare instrument used to create (re-recreate) period works for a very small and highly elite audience.... Ultimately, no one much will care.

So, I find myself back to where I have found myself returning so many times before. I think I'll just tend my own garden. It happens to have a piano. Cool. I like that. I don't need to think beyond that....
Posted By: ninja8701

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 08:24 PM

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by J. Mark:
You mean, people pay for cats? Get outta town!?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terry Wilson said:

They thow'm in for free down here with the purchase of an egg roll...
_________________________________________________

Ugggggg.... I hope you didn't mean what I thought you did.
Posted By: PSS

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 09:07 PM

Quote
Originally posted by ninja8701:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by J. Mark:
You mean, people pay for cats? Get outta town!?
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Terry Wilson said:

They thow'm in for free down here with the purchase of an egg roll...
_________________________________________________

Ugggggg.... I hope you didn't mean what I thought you did.
Sorry to say it's true. The value of egg rolls have really gone up with the current exchange rate. laugh laugh
Posted By: BoseEric

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/23/07 09:10 PM

nobody seems to have mentioned the effect of taking advantage of work and investment by a local independant dealer (programs, recital hall, donations, student performances, enjoyable time just playing his/her pianos, appraisal of your "trade in" etc) and then buying across the country because you save $50, or sales tax, or that dealer paid your hotel room...
Posted By: Starting Over

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/24/07 12:34 AM

Quote
Ahh, but the piano! Who the heck knows? Maybe it will end up on the same list as the harpsichord... a lovely and relatively rare instrument used to create (re-recreate) period works for a very small and highly elite audience.... Ultimately, no one much will care.
Perhaps, and well put... But I think we can dare to hope not. The harpsichord lost to the piano because the newer instrument was so clearly superior in just about every way. Such is not the case with electronic keyboard instruments. They are cheaper and smaller and more versatile to be sure but the reference is the acoustic piano. The best digitals are the ones that sound most like a real piano. As long as this remains the case, the real thing will remain relevant.

I hope.
Posted By: Mat D.

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/24/07 12:36 AM

Quote
Originally posted by J. Mark:


So I think the changes will just provide new media and new concepts and art forms, and creativity will continue and will prosper. heck, some of the kids I know these days are just incredibly creative, but in ways I can barely understand (never mind emulate).

Ahh, but the piano! Who the heck knows? Maybe it will end up on the same list as the harpsichord... a lovely and relatively rare instrument used to create (re-recreate) period works for a very small and highly elite audience.... Ultimately, no one much will care.

J. Mark...I'm not really a cynic and I do agree that the human spirit will always find ways to express itself...I myself use technology every day as tools in my music production work. They are strictly tools, but will never replace creativity and brain-power....Your film example of the wonderful special EFX is a case in point....yes, the FX are outstanding, but technology will never write a great story or write a great piece of music; Citizen Kane didn't have a single high-speed car chase smile . Today, this is happening in the music world as well....much of the "music" that is selling the most is not really music at all...in order to be music, it has to have harmony/melody and rhythm..lyrics are optional....much of the population doesn't know the difference these days.

When I said in my initial post that I would have bet rap/hip hop would die within 5 years, I really meant it...I figured people would catch on that it was missing certain elements of MUSIC, but they haven't...that is my concern....100 years from now, will Mozart, Bach etc. be forgotten? That troubles me (I'll be dead, but you know what I mean).

There I go again,sorry, I AM NOT A CYNIC...it's easy to slip....In the end, what is great will survive, if maybe by a smaller audience.

My aopolgies for straying off topic slightly...I really want to see piano dealers survive, thrive, in fact! I'm doing my part w/ my M&H BB.
Mat D.
Posted By: WILLIAM C. HAUGHT

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/24/07 03:35 AM

With so many interesting thoughts, I ponder where to begin . . .

The thought that the increase in population along with the decrease in piano sales is right on line with statistics.

The "entry level" piano business being down is very scary, because this obviously means that the interest throughout the country of starting one's children on piano is diminishing.

The internet theory is a factor, but the numbers for the US sales of pianos, including internet sellers are still decreasing at a dangerous level.

Boseric is so right in the fact that consumers have become so intense on saving even the slightest amount of money that they will buy from a dealer outside their area to save the sales tax.

Being in the piano business for many years, the amount of work that goes into operating a piano store is endless. The cost of advertising and studio space for lessons along with interest on floor plans is a killer.

So, what can be done? Is the life expectancy of the small town piano dealer getting shorter? Jordan Kitts survives very well, but not just because of their huge trade area. Bill McCormick has proven that he has the "secret formula" to making a failing business a huge success even outside the music business i.e. Georgetown Leather was a bankrupt company and he bought it and transformed it into a multi million dollar entity within just a few years.

So, with this example alone, we know that somehow it can be done. Don't get me wrong, there are a few companies out there that are thriving still. But why? If the masses of dealers are having it so tough, what can they do to bring it back? Will they have to diversify their business holdings so that another type of business can help support their piano store? Surely not.

The quality of the Chinese brands are getting much better ... ex: Pearl River lines. But even the Pearl River dealers are having the same problems and they supply the bulk of entry level pianos sold today.

The hard working dealer needs something to happen to stimulate this business. We can only hope that the arts don't continue to diminish in this country. What a sad state of affairs that would be.

Respectfully,
Posted By: theJourney

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/24/07 06:58 AM

Quote
Originally posted by WILLIAM C. HAUGHT:
We can only hope that the arts don't continue to diminish in this country. What a sad state of affairs that would be.
With such a beautiful instrument as the piano,

considering its valuable historical role in disseminating culture to the masses and bringing people together,

the learning to play of which has such a well documented positive impact on the development of young brains that are capable of empowered, independent, integrative and critical thought,

one might be tempted to suspect a dark conspiracy to explain its decline.

Perhaps part of the explanation, directly relating to education, can be sought here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BVNN1wqw3k&NR=1

Incidentally, the entire, slightly OT, series of 5 parts is quite entertaining to watch in order.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_dmPchuXIXQ&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lBZne09Gf5A&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SjUrib_Gh0Y&mode=related&search=
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BVNN1wqw3k&NR=1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VPPFgHF9VR4&mode=related&search=
Posted By: theJourney

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/24/07 09:11 PM

or maybe the answer is price controls on books

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/24/a...mp;en=8f7dbd473bd60c3f&ex=1193371200
Posted By: Kenny Blankenship

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/24/07 11:28 PM

Whats Bill's success? Good Salespeople that get margin?
Posted By: FogVilleLad

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/24/07 11:47 PM

J. Mark posted,
Quote
Sure, the changes we are seeing in our society are frightening to many of us.... But I have to believe the human spirit, and the drive to create, is stronger than all that.... heck, some of the kids I know these days are just incredibly creative, but in ways I can barely understand (never mind emulate).
Agree completely.

In addition, dealers would be well advised to study successes. Norbert and Ori come to mind. Different ends of North America, different target markets. (Steve Cohen also merits a look, as does Cunningham's in Philly.)

There was a time when people expected to buy a piano. That time has passed. Dealers now would do well to think of inexpensive ways to create demand. Rich Galassini's recent event with school kids would seem to be replicable. A possible variation on that might be offers made thru schools for a series of low cost piano lessons which would be given at the shop. That offer could be made as a followup to a Galassini-type event.
Posted By: Craigen

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/25/07 11:55 PM

PianoDad,
I don't understand your whole "franchising" discussion. I don't know of any franchising in our business in a classic sense. I understood the term "independent" dealers to referr to those that owned one or two retail locations. There are the big guys like Jordan Kits, Sherman Clay, Schmidt Music, but these are not franchises. They are larger companies with multiple locations.
There are few if any manufacturer owned retail locations in the U.S. today except Sty Hall.
Posted By: WILLIAM C. HAUGHT

Re: Independent Piano Dealers Going, Going, Gone? - 10/27/07 10:07 PM

Some Manufacturers do have Concert Hall sales venues and Bechstein just opened a store (where Broadway Piano was located in NYC) selling factory direct as well. For many years, Baldwin had stores throughout the East Coast.
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