Sam Ash: What Happened?

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by Silas Caldwell, Jun 12, 2021.

  1. I drove out of my way from Nashville to Madison, TN (20 minute drive) to go to Sam Ash and try out some Hartke gear, since I had never tried them. As soon as I got there, it felt wrong. There weren’t any employees. The entire store empty (no people). I walked back to the main room with Gibsons and everything, gone. No employees on duty. The fender room, not a single guitar on the racks, just amps. The only basses were cheap Squiers, Jacksons, and Sterlings. The only amps, Hartke. And of course, they were used, and non-functional. The store itself was dead with only one room having music. What happened to Sam Ash? This used to be my favorite store. However, I have two predictions:

    1. They could be moving into Nashville and are beginning to shutter that location.

    2. They are going to close down due to poor performance, and are sending all of their gear to other locations. Literally one of the only instruments in the Fender room, was.... get this. A USED GIBSON LES PAUL.

    Any thoughts?
  2. Gorn


    Dec 15, 2011
    Queens, NY
    It’s 2021. Retail stores were on the way out before a global pandemic made things even worse for them.
  3. steveinohio


    May 27, 2007
    This is what its like in Cincinnati as well. Im guessing their end is near. Total bummer. I really liked that store.
  4. ricknote


    Aug 3, 2006
    I work on the manufacturing side of the music business and I can tell you without hesitation that every store is having difficulty getting inventory. The music business especially the Guitar side has had record sales last year. Combine that with supply chain shortages and you have a recipe for a lot of empty hooks in nearly every store I visit. GC and Sam Ash included.
    Semi Actuated, DadRola, mtto and 55 others like this.
  5. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Well, last week I ordered a Yamaha bass from Sam Ash. I ordered it from there because they had the Teal Blue one I wanted, plus my SamAsh card was empty and they had 24 months financing.

    I tell you, the whole ordering process was kinda difficult. I tried to order online during my lunch break and kept getting errors at the final checkout stage. After 30 minutes I gave up and decided to call in my order when I got back to the office. So I call in, and first let me stress honestly how helpful the sales guy was. But was having trouble also. He said the system didn't work right, inventory on the website is not accurate, and he would have to try to find the Teal Blue bass in stock somewhere and would call me back. He did find one, and he did call me back. Then it wouldn't let him put in my SamAsh card so he had to get a supervisor involved. Eventually he got it and I thanked him and told him how much I appreciated his help. Dude went above and beyond but their process/systems/ordering/inventory is completely screwy.

    It took about 2 hours to order a bass. I could have ordered from Sweetwater and it would have taken 3 minutes. SamAsh is going to have to do better.
  6. MattZilla


    Jun 26, 2013
    truth. It took me that long just a few months ago.
    Sorado71, WillieB and Silas Caldwell like this.
  7. Relayer71

    Relayer71 Supporting Member

    Jun 25, 2009
    Why didn't you just ask whoever was at the store?
  8. rpt50


    Jan 10, 2021
    The Sam Ash in Atlanta is so low on inventory, at least for guitars/basses, that they have removed most of the empty hangers from the slat board walls. But employees indicated the lack of inventory was due to pandemic related issues. They seem to have more of an inventory problem than the GCs I've been to in Atlanta, but not overly so.
    obimark, Silas Caldwell and Corigan like this.
  9. RichSnyder

    RichSnyder Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

    Jun 19, 2003
    Even Sweetwater seems low on inventory. Manufacturing and transportation were hit hard and we’re just starting to ramp back up. Keep in mind that the US is way ahead most other countries when it comes to vaccine rollout. That’s not political, just fact and that we shouldn’t assume other countries where manufacturing is happening have the relative return to normal that we’re mostly experiencing.
  10. Sam Ash is my favorite retailer.
    I've been buying from them since 1976.
    I guess all the stores are hurting.

    I was in the Manhattan store about a month ago buying a set of bass strings, and while nowhere near empty, I'd say their stock of everything was down 25 to 30 per cent.
    I asked the manager how much longer this would last, he replied, "Until next year."

    Their website is completely new.
    I didn't see any electric uprights there.

    The pandemic may be winding down medically, but exactly what is has done to all businesses is yet to be seen.

  11. Lenny JG

    Lenny JG

    Aug 3, 2019
    They were always a better guitar center that marketed themselves poorly in comparison; their end has been imminent for quite a while I feel. Maybe they'll rebrand or rework their business plan. One can hope. I haven't needed more than a distortion pedal from there in recent years though, so if this is farewell, I suppose I can live w/ that.
    El_Charro and Silas Caldwell like this.
  12. chadds


    Mar 18, 2000
    Drive past a car dealership. Ten cars.
  13. Plake

    Plake Supporting Member

    Dec 20, 2010
    ^^This. I actually spoke with Mr. Ash less than 2 months ago and asked him how they faired during the pandemic. He said it was a rough go but they made it through and cant get enough supply to keep up with current demand.
    Ronzo, trothwell, Pet Sounds and 7 others like this.
  14. Our local GC is finally starting to get inventory back on the walls. Asked a smaller local shop about ordering an Ibanez and he said he can't even order them until next year. Said it's hard to get anything right now.
  15. wellshuxley

    wellshuxley Supporting Member

    Apr 16, 2007
    Raleigh, NC
    I’m having an odd online ordering experience with Sam Ash right now, to the point where part of me wonders if scammers somehow intercepted my order info and are impersonating the company.

    I ordered some Ric strings on May 20th. On May 26th, I received an email update:

    “We are in the process of updating our website. Part of that process requires us to enter your order directly into our Shipping Computer, and as a result, you will not see your order status update online.”

    Then, nothing until June 10th, when I was told that the item I ordered had come in from back order, but that my CC authorization had expired. Apparently I have to call them if I want to proceed with shipping.

    A rather incoherent process!
    DrMole, tindrum and Silas Caldwell like this.
  16. 57pbass

    57pbass Supporting Member

    Aug 1, 2004
    Bayside, New York
    Non music related but we were at a local LL Bean returning some seasonal items that we never used. The manager told me that since their inventory levels are so low and they’re having difficulty restocking items due to supply chain problems they won’t be having any sales events to clear stuff out. He was so happy to to take our returns since they need inventory.
    Sorado71, fretter, mikewalker and 2 others like this.
  17. buldog5151bass

    buldog5151bass Kibble, milkbones, and P Basses. And redheads.

    Oct 22, 2003
    A lot of what is sold at retail stores is beginner gear - Tom or Sally walking in with Mom and Dad. So that's what they stock.
  18. A lot of businesses in all fields are on the precipice because they can’t get inventory from their suppliers who, in turn, have trouble getting raw material and workers needed to make what the retailers need for their customers. It’s an ugly situation. My son told me that his company has eight more stores than it did eighteen months ago but company-wide they have one half the number of employees. Every store but maybe two is short-staffed. Several of them will shutter by year end if change doesn’t come quickly. In the music world and elsewhere, shopping at a store but buying online is contributing to the collapse.
  19. mmbongo

    mmbongo Regular Human Bartender Supporting Member

    Aug 5, 2009
    Yep. Pretty much what I went through with my order last week. But once they managed to locate the inventory they said they had and they were able to place the order, it shipped quickly.
    wellshuxley likes this.
  20. Spidey2112


    Aug 3, 2016
    I've only been there once, but something is rotten, in Denmark.
  21. Primary

    Primary TB Assistant

    Here are some related products that TB members are talking about. Clicking on a product will take you to TB’s partner, Primary, where you can find links to TB discussions about these products.

    Jul 27, 2021

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