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#1989325 - 11/21/12 10:22 AM Piano shops aren't surviving
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
Is it me or is the current depression REALLY hammering piano shops?

I got two emails recently of liquidation sales for two nearby piano shops... I always love wandering around in their show room and looking at their expensive steinways and uprights. But could never afford to buy one....

I suppose there are too many people like myself who look but don't buy which is killing them.

How is your area doing?

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(ads 568) Hailun Pianos

 

#1989346 - 11/21/12 11:22 AM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
rada Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/07/06
Posts: 1124
Loc: pagosa springs,co
I see that many people like digitals because they are less expensive, take up less room and do not have to be tuned. Too bad because I think people can learn bad habits practicing on a digital. There is no way to compare the feeling you get playing an acoustic grand. Digitals fall short in my opinion.

rada

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#1989358 - 11/21/12 11:39 AM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5282
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
I've seen two piano stores within minutes of my house close within the last ten years. One had existed for 100 years.

The largest piano store in Holland closed its doors last year only to open in another location under a different name.

As an aside, I received a message today from an absolutely first rate bass player from the US who is looking for work. He was the long time bassist for Ahmad Jamal (15 years at least) and was let go a few months ago. Times are tough for everyone.




_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#1989377 - 11/21/12 12:10 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Rank Piano Amateur Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/11/07
Posts: 1794
I am hoping that piano shops will survive. There is nothing like an acoustic piano--I agree that digital pianos cannot replace them. I also believe that internet searches simply cannot duplicate the experience of in-person shopping. Pianos are musical instruments, and their very individuality will I hope keep the process of shopping in real stores alive.

And just TRY and call the internet for service or tuning!

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#1989426 - 11/21/12 01:59 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: Dave Horne]
RAY930 Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 09/03/07
Posts: 86
Loc: Europe
largest shop in Hollandis Bol Piano and up to now has even open a new showroom

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#1989460 - 11/21/12 03:33 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 424
Loc: Bend, Or.
Dealers in the US are dropping like flies. A piano IS a luxury and not a necessity I suppose (a necessity for me). A large store in Portland seems to have a liquidation sale about very other month for stores around the area.
_________________________
Musica 71

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#1989541 - 11/21/12 06:06 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Rod Verhnjak Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/09/06
Posts: 3659
Loc: Vancouver B.C. Canada
Are you asking about repair shops or retailers selling new pianos.

I consider myself a shop (repair/restoration) and we are still busy but I do know retail is down for many.
_________________________
Verhnjak Pianos
Specializing in the Restoration, Refinishing & Maintenance
of Fine Heirloom Pianos

Exclusive Dealer For Charles R. Walter Pianos
www.pianoman.ca
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#1989546 - 11/21/12 06:24 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: Rod Verhnjak]
justpin Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 504
Loc: Holmes Chapel
The shops nearby do both, having workshop facilities and also a showroom.

As well as a studio and some sound proofed rooms you can hire to jam, practice or take lessons in.

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#1989547 - 11/21/12 06:24 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: RAY930]
Dave Horne Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/07/04
Posts: 5282
Loc: Vught, The Netherlands
Originally Posted By: RAY930
largest shop in Hollandis Bol Piano and up to now has even open a new showroom


Muziek Metropool (which I believe is the same name as before) has a new location.

http://www.pianometropool.nl/

They also advertise having the largest showroom. Their previous showroom in Culemborg was the largest I had ever seen. The owner couldn't play, he was just a businessman.
_________________________
website

mp3\wav files

AvantGrand N3, CP5

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#1989558 - 11/21/12 07:13 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Dave B Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/01/11
Posts: 1974
Loc: Philadelphia area
Rising overhead and reduced profit margins = less shops. I'm thinking flexibility is the key to survival these days. A different hat for each day of the week...

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#1989559 - 11/21/12 07:13 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: Dave Horne]
Peakly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/10
Posts: 213
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Dave Horne
I received a message today from an absolutely first rate bass player from the US who is looking for work. He was the long time bassist for Ahmad Jamal (15 years at least) and was let go a few months ago. Times are tough for everyone.

Yes, times are tough. We have definitely felt it. We even put our piano up for sale, but then decided to keep it, thank goodness.



Quote:
Muziek Metropool (which I believe is the same name as before) has a new location. They also advertise having the largest showroom.

Maybe they're doing well because of those two hot babes all dressed up on their home page : )

Mychal

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#1989583 - 11/21/12 09:41 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
tonedefreegan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 45
as a long term 'customer' of the variety of piano shops within 50kms of my home, I can say without hesitation that the ones who are surviving (ie, doing very well) are offering something the others don't. the ones who'll probably be closing within the next 12 months all seem to play the same game. they have really REALLY bad and very old pianos on the premises marked up to insane prices purely to demonstrate that 'for not much more, you can buy NEW'. taking it a step further, they have vast numbers of 'grey market' japanese uprights - most of which are in excess of 25 years old, and all seem to have mysteriously 'just arrived', and double mysteriously, 'haven't been tuned yet'. so no matter which of these you might wander past and have a tinkle at, the salesperson will leap to your side and announce 'not tuned, not regulated'. really? really truly? of course all the brand new pianos will be fully regulated and tuned and ready to roll. what a surprise.

meantime, what the successful stores do is a) have every piano on the premises tuned and in top playing condition at all times, b) only carry late model used Japanese uprights in 'as new' condition, c) have a few high end grands on display d) always have a few 'vintage' pianos of better quality and condition to meet the lower end of the market. c) and d) alone can make the difference between survival and failure. having $1000 and $50,000 pianos means you meet every level of the marketplace, not just the middle - like most of the shoddy operators.

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#1989755 - 11/22/12 12:01 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14265
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
There are vast differences how dealers are doing these days, very much also geographically. We have differences between East and West and all over in between.

There are also very different philosophies among dealers with some of them described above.

If "selling volume" is what its all about, the stresses are different and can be horrendous.

For both sellers AND buyers.

"Small" can be beautiful and "smaller" perhaps even be better...

Can it be the models of the future?

For those dealers who have conscientiously chosen quality over quantity, the challenges can be name recognition, familiarity of brand or simply being able to communicate the difference, especially to non-players.

Add to this the fighting back of big companies plus their associated service staff against the upcoming guys on the block and it ain't always exactly a cakewalk....

The road may be more arduous, but in the end also more rewarding. Including with future in mind.

Fact is that quality and with it "quality of tone" is something people are increasingly becoming aware of: perhaps the one redeeming factor best suited to win out in the long run. [sorry, German descent speaking..]

In fact, people are becoming much more open to really "listen" to the different pianos on market realizing they have many attractive, even amazing options for themselves today.

How can a makers like Sauter, Estonia, even Ritmueller and Brodmann, for example be sold out for months on end, this in the middle of a recession?

Coincidence - or were we up to someting when adopting these makes?

If the remaining businesses are simply run "as usual", it will make no difference if there are 100 of them - or only one single one left.

IMHO

Start pounding...

Norbert smile


Edited by Norbert (11/22/12 12:38 PM)
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1989775 - 11/22/12 12:50 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: Norbert]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19642
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Norbert
How can a makers like Sauter, Estonia, even Ritmueller and Brodmann, for example be sold out for months on end, this in the middle of a recession?
So this means you only have a few Hailuns in your store?

Or do you mean the companies are sold out for months on end? If a company only makes 300 pianos/year they only have to sell one/day worldwide to be sold out.


Edited by pianoloverus (11/22/12 02:50 PM)

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#1989785 - 11/22/12 01:09 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
TunerJeff Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/22/11
Posts: 498
Loc: Oregon Coast
Just got a flyer in the mail. The Steinway dealership in Portland Oregon is liquidating. They are doing appt.-only showings until December 2nd. and then Poooof! This is a Sherman-Clay outlet.

One of the better rebuilders in the Portland area just put an ad into our PTG Chapter newsletter to sell off his equipment as he is 'retiring'. Actually; 10 years ago he was empoloying 6 people full-time with rebuilding and refinishing. That has dwindled to no employees and so little work that he is choosing to close his doors.

The store mentioned in Portland? I know who you mean. The owner has a second business which is doing quite well in these economic times. The speciality? Holding close-out sales and marketing off the remains of piano outlets. That's why they have so many pianos, and hold those sales. He's bringing pianos from all over this side of the country, as he sweeps up the remains of the close-out sales.

In the last 5 years in Oregon?
All the major outlets in Eugene, Roseburg, Salem, and Portland have either closed, been bought out, or moved their location to smaller venues. All of them. Eugene, Salem, and Roseburg completely lost their piano dealerships; only Eugene has a retailer of new pianos and those are from an outfit called 'Piano Liquidators'....selling the most inexpensively produced pianos on the planet. He just moved, too. Off the center of town to cheaper digs in the sidelines.

So, from where I sit? Disposible income is lacking. People are buying less and fixing less. Fewer retailers. Fewer rebuilders.

Gobble 'til ya wobble ya'all,
Respectfully,
I am,
_________________________
Jeffrey T. Hickey, RPT
Oregon Coast Piano Services
TunerJeff440@aol.com

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#1989786 - 11/22/12 01:11 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1543
Loc: Danville, California
One thing is for certain - there will always be enough piano "shops" to support final demand.

What is going on now is nothing more than the marketplace finding equilibrium. In the USA, acoustic piano sales have fallen roughly 50% in the past 5 years. This level of volume does not support the number of dealers that existed previously. It is important that the dealers who do survive be reasonably profitable in order to provide the services that the customer expects and deserves. Things will adjust to the new reality in time.

What will happen and what is happening is that the number of brands will diminish. The marginal players or those without a solid reason for being will be squeezed out. It will be increasingly difficult for low volume brands to gain distribution at the dealer level. There simply are not enough dealers left for them to stock all the brands fighting for placement.

So unfortunately you can look for some venerable brands to disappear in the fairly near future. How soon? They may survive for another year, 2 years, perhaps even 5 years. But they will disappear. They simply are not needed.

Just my opinion.

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#1989792 - 11/22/12 01:24 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Jeff Clef Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/05/08
Posts: 4441
Loc: San Jose, CA
"...there will always be enough piano "shops" to support final demand..."

Good call, Furt. Pretty accurate view, as far as I can tell.

All is not gloom and doom, at least not everywhere. Locally, the stores seem to be doing pretty well. Maybe not as well as they would like to. I wonder if our area is in some kind of time warp, either ahead of its time, or way behind it.

I nearly died of astonishment yesterday--- I saw a TV ad for a piano maker on MSNBC. Well, nearly; it was actually an ad for businesses in the State of New York which mentioned a manufacturer. I wonder if they'll sell any units off of it. So many other businesses, which want to move product, use advertizing to stimulate demand, but piano makers seem to know better.
_________________________
Clef


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#1989806 - 11/22/12 01:57 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1543
Loc: Danville, California
There are 4 ads for piano makers on this page alone.



Edited by Furtwangler (11/22/12 01:58 PM)

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#1989810 - 11/22/12 02:15 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Steve Cohen Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 10528
Loc: Maryland/DC/No. VA
One reason that some brands are in poor supply is the lack of capital on the part of the distributor. Manufacturers are selling their production in countries and to distributors who can pay for them at shipment.
_________________________
Piano Industry Consultant- http://www.linkedin.com/pub/steve-cohen/6/b92/b80

Consultant & Contributing Editor - Acoustic & Digital Piano Buyer

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Maryland/DC/No. VA
Since 1937.

www.jasonsmusic.com
My postings, unless stated otherwise, are my personal opinions, not those of my clients.

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#1989818 - 11/22/12 03:09 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
tonedefreegan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 45
all interesting stuff, and explains alot.

I maintain that at the coalface, retailers need to service the bottom end of the market in ways other than by selling new, cheap, poor quality pianos. the leading retailer in this city - a city of 5 million, has entry level pianos at $800. undoubtedly obtsined by them as trades, but they're particular about just which older trades the onsell. furthermore, these units are serviced and given a spit and polish so always look and sound great - often better than the new Chinese models sold up the road. and finally, if you buy one of these $800 pianos you're treated to exactly the same quality of service as those buying Shigeru Kawais. This store is ALWAYS busy, and you often find yourself waiting a bit as the knowledgable and highly ethical staff are in constant demand. That's quite something in a depressed economy.

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#1989862 - 11/22/12 05:09 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: Furtwangler]
Peakly Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/12/10
Posts: 213
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
In the USA, acoustic piano sales have fallen roughly 50% in the past 5 years. This level of volume does not support the number of dealers that existed previously.


Ouch. I would think not. Half of the sales gone is huge.

One thing for sure - the piano is not going away, no matter how many digital pianos are made and sold. It is a unique and amazing instrument. There is nothing else like it.

Mychal

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#1989871 - 11/22/12 05:53 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: Peakly]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1543
Loc: Danville, California
Originally Posted By: Peakly
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
In the USA, acoustic piano sales have fallen roughly 50% in the past 5 years. This level of volume does not support the number of dealers that existed previously.


Ouch. I would think not. Half of the sales gone is huge.

One thing for sure - the piano is not going away, no matter how many digital pianos are made and sold. It is a unique and amazing instrument. There is nothing else like it.

Mychal


You would think not? Well, think again.

It was much worse there for a while. Things have recovered from the worst!

As for more secular trends - Upright acoustic piano sales are down over 90% from the mid-70s peak years.

Any mystery why so many "shops" have disappeared?

And yes - they will not go away entirely. There will be enough to serve the market.

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#1989875 - 11/22/12 05:58 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: tonedefreegan]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1543
Loc: Danville, California
Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
all interesting stuff, and explains alot.

I maintain that at the coalface, retailers need to service the bottom end of the market in ways other than by selling new, cheap, poor quality pianos. the leading retailer in this city - a city of 5 million, has entry level pianos at $800. undoubtedly obtsined by them as trades, but they're particular about just which older trades the onsell. furthermore, these units are serviced and given a spit and polish so always look and sound great - often better than the new Chinese models sold up the road. and finally, if you buy one of these $800 pianos you're treated to exactly the same quality of service as those buying Shigeru Kawais. This store is ALWAYS busy, and you often find yourself waiting a bit as the knowledgable and highly ethical staff are in constant demand. That's quite something in a depressed economy.


That is a very nice story. I am sure you can understand, however, that a full-fledged retail dealer would have to sell roughly 1,000 of those $800 pianos per annum to stay in business.

Which is not very realistic.

But at least it provides steady sales volume and some much-needed cash flow I am sure.

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#1989917 - 11/22/12 09:40 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
Norbert Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 14265
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Quote:
furthermore, these units are serviced and given a spit and polish so always look and sound great - often better than the new Chinese models sold up the road.


Don't know what the "Chinese models up the road" are but would like to see how the "spit and polish" oldies would be a match, let alone can outperform a new Ritmüller, Brodmann, Hailun or other top Chinese piano.

It's exactly those statements which show how grossly misunderstood/ misjudged the situation out in the market really is today.

Norbert
_________________________
www.heritagepianos.com
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : C.Sauter, Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
604-951-8642

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#1989919 - 11/22/12 10:01 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6160
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Allans just went bankrupt here. It had been around for over 100 years. Although I didn't buy much from them, I was sad because I liked to have a look when I went to Sydney.
_________________________



Music is my best friend.


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#1989920 - 11/22/12 10:13 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: Furtwangler]
tonedefreegan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 45
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
all interesting stuff, and explains alot.

I maintain that at the coalface, retailers need to service the bottom end of the market in ways other than by selling new, cheap, poor quality pianos. the leading retailer in this city - a city of 5 million, has entry level pianos at $800. undoubtedly obtsined by them as trades, but they're particular about just which older trades the onsell. furthermore, these units are serviced and given a spit and polish so always look and sound great - often better than the new Chinese models sold up the road. and finally, if you buy one of these $800 pianos you're treated to exactly the same quality of service as those buying Shigeru Kawais. This store is ALWAYS busy, and you often find yourself waiting a bit as the knowledgable and highly ethical staff are in constant demand. That's quite something in a depressed economy.


That is a very nice story. I am sure you can understand, however, that a full-fledged retail dealer would have to sell roughly 1,000 of those $800 pianos per annum to stay in business.

Which is not very realistic.

But at least it provides steady sales volume and some much-needed cash flow I am sure.


crazy

I don't believe I suggested that these few stores LIVE on the $800 pianos. They also sell $80,000 models. The point of the comment was to highlight the fact that as we sink further into a cash-strapped economy, being able to at least offer something cheaper than the cheapest and baddest new piano is essential. The same people who might be thrilled to buy one of these today, and get good service with it, will come back tomorrow and buy sheet music. The day after, they'll come back and buy a $4k piano. The day after that they'll come back and buy a $20k model, all being equal. Try going into a 'standard' piano store and asking to see their $1k pianos and see how far you get. If you don't meet BOTH ends of the market, you're doomed. And the bottom end is, at present, very bottom. I happen to know that one such store owner considers these very cheap pianos 'risk management', and is prepared to wear the costs associated (he makes a very modest profit on these, obviously) because it builds loyalty and keeps the till ticking over.

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#1989921 - 11/22/12 10:19 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: Norbert]
tonedefreegan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 45
Originally Posted By: Norbert


Don't know what the "Chinese models up the road" are but would like to see how the "spit and polish" oldies would be a match, let alone can outperform a new Ritmüller, Brodmann, Hailun or other top Chinese piano.

It's exactly those statements which show how grossly misunderstood/ misjudged the situation out in the market really is today.

Norbert



These 'oldies' are between 40 and 60 years old, and they're always the better makes and individual examples. The management are very selective about which trade-ins they 'recycle', and all are serviced and prepped properly. Yes, some ARE better than the cheapest entry level Asian uprights. Not all, but some are.

I don't think there's any misunderstanding here. You either adapt to tighter purse strings or die. Not rocket science smile

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#1989930 - 11/22/12 11:14 PM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: tonedefreegan]
Furtwangler Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/22/07
Posts: 1543
Loc: Danville, California
Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
Originally Posted By: Furtwangler
Originally Posted By: tonedefreegan
all interesting stuff, and explains alot.

I maintain that at the coalface, retailers need to service the bottom end of the market in ways other than by selling new, cheap, poor quality pianos. the leading retailer in this city - a city of 5 million, has entry level pianos at $800. undoubtedly obtsined by them as trades, but they're particular about just which older trades the onsell. furthermore, these units are serviced and given a spit and polish so always look and sound great - often better than the new Chinese models sold up the road. and finally, if you buy one of these $800 pianos you're treated to exactly the same quality of service as those buying Shigeru Kawais. This store is ALWAYS busy, and you often find yourself waiting a bit as the knowledgable and highly ethical staff are in constant demand. That's quite something in a depressed economy.


That is a very nice story. I am sure you can understand, however, that a full-fledged retail dealer would have to sell roughly 1,000 of those $800 pianos per annum to stay in business.

Which is not very realistic.

But at least it provides steady sales volume and some much-needed cash flow I am sure.


crazy

I don't believe I suggested that these few stores LIVE on the $800 pianos. They also sell $80,000 models. The point of the comment was to highlight the fact that as we sink further into a cash-strapped economy, being able to at least offer something cheaper than the cheapest and baddest new piano is essential. The same people who might be thrilled to buy one of these today, and get good service with it, will come back tomorrow and buy sheet music. The day after, they'll come back and buy a $4k piano. The day after that they'll come back and buy a $20k model, all being equal. Try going into a 'standard' piano store and asking to see their $1k pianos and see how far you get. If you don't meet BOTH ends of the market, you're doomed. And the bottom end is, at present, very bottom. I happen to know that one such store owner considers these very cheap pianos 'risk management', and is prepared to wear the costs associated (he makes a very modest profit on these, obviously) because it builds loyalty and keeps the till ticking over.


I understand - they offer a broad range of products in every price category.

However your statement highlighted in red is where we disagree. I am highly suspicious of this scenario.

One needn't cater to all ends of the market to succeed. That is a myth. One can specialize. And that is more likely to be a successful strategy than to try to be all things to all people.

Of course, if one follows this strategy the entire business model must be in sync with it.

I know of a store near me that proudly sells pianos for as little as $100. In fact the initial visit I made to his establishment a couple of years ago, he had 3 such gems displayed out front on the sidewalk. "What is the point?" I asked myself. They were essentially junk.

At any rate, you and I are armchair experts.

Good to get your perspective on things.

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#1989938 - 11/23/12 12:00 AM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
tonedefreegan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 45
that's the thing though, these people arent selling junk. their cheapest are all sound instruments which have at least another decade or so in them. as for being all things to all people - it's often these outfits that survive, when specialists don't. the difficulty with specialisation in a depressed market is that if your niche gets tight, you've had it. nowhere to go. applies equally to other specialist (aka, high end) retailers. they're dropping like flies here.

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#1989939 - 11/23/12 12:01 AM Re: Piano shops aren't surviving [Re: justpin]
tonedefreegan Offline
Full Member

Registered: 10/05/12
Posts: 45
that's the thing though, these people arent selling junk. their cheapest are all sound instruments which have at least another decade or so in them. as for being all things to all people - it's often these outfits that survive, when specialists don't. the difficulty with specialisation in a depressed market is that if your niche gets tight, you've had it. nowhere to go. applies equally to other specialist (aka, high end) retailers. they're dropping like flies here.

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