Yes indeed. Only not staffed by the same personnel.
I work in the Retail Store in South Bend, IN. I've been with the company about 4.5 years.
Things have changed sooooo much in just the short time I've been here. Policy changes, 'forcing' out the long-standing employees, ridiculous demands, etc. Corporate Big Brother hanging over everything.
When the bankruptcy happened, the warehouse moved down the road. Then it moved further down the road . . . . to Kansas City, so it could be shared by Musicians' Friend.
The official line was, "We can no longer source enough talent in this area to support our growth." Complete and utter BS, seeing as how Bach, Conn-Selmer, Gemeinhardt, Blessing, etc., are all in our backyard . . . funny how they find talented employees to support their growth.
The truth is, our parent company doesn't remotely appreciate our value - intrinsic or otherwise. Where else in the country can you go play half a dozen Les Pauls, a dozen tubas, 10 R13s, handmade flutes, and high-end drumsets all in one sitting? Hmmmm . . . . oh, that's right, nowhere.
I'm not saying we've always had the best selection, or the best customer service, or even the best pricing. But we were here, and the majority of our employees did their best to serve the musical community.
It's a damn shame, and whoever comes along to win back that B&O customer base - I'm 90% sure Dennis Bamber is coming back to this location and will open a comparable musical store in the future, once our lease is up in February - will find themselves with willing customers who don't want to speak with Joe Schmoe from Idaho who can't carry a tune in a paper bag, let alone recommend a ligature, mouthpiece, or rotor oil.
I think the internet has taken a lot of the higher profit out of this industry. Thus, the "businessmen" that were only in it for the high profits are getting out. Those guys will probably be in the designer shoes business by this time next year. They could care less about the music.
I hope the remaining online business is well managed. But it probably won't be.
Man-I remember going to the WWBW when it was the little store on state line road. I bought my first saxophone there is 1993. Also played many mouthpieces and had great service. The staff were only clerks at the time...10 years later when I visited the new store, they were all managers. I miss the old WWBW!
AS I recall, they went bankrupt about 3 years ago and were for sale then. Selmer was interested but that would have been a disaster and probably illegal. They also would probably lose most of their retail store accounts. I think Guitar Center was the one who took it then. There is a GC near me and they are about as dumb as you will find. If you ask for a tuner, they have to ask the other workers if they have something called a tuner. Only keyboards and guitars. Lame operation. I think they figure that they can piggyback band instruments via the retail stores. I doubt if it will work. Even Sam Ash does better here.
Guitar Center is Little Rock is great. Most of the young guys that work there play serious guitar and the guys in electronic part are often part-time DJ's. All of them are very knowledgeable and helpful. I wish there was a horn shop like that.
The Sam Ash in Richmond is great also. I got a really good deal on my Keilwerth SX90 black nickel tenor (800 bucks). They have a pretty good selection of mouthpieces (esp if you like Otto Links). Used horns turn over fast there, so if you check often you have a good chance of finding what you're looking for. That being said, I have ordered stuff from WWBW and used their online prices for price match with Sam Ash and I will miss them. Too bad employees there are just "thrown away" like that. That makes me not want to do business with them so much. But that's the trend of the future. Heartless corporations in search of profits and the only thing they care about is making money.
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