Canadian Music Trade - June/July 2017 - Page 23

R etail is largely about volume, and the amount of product a giv- Beshara became known as the go-to guy for music in his area – the en store can move depends heavily on the size of the market guy that could find you the guitar you were looking for. It all began it serves. But conversely, high volume doesn’t guarantee profit, back in 1995, when just a few days after acquiring a new guitar for and a large local market doesn’t guarantee success. himself, he parted with it at an agreeable price. That soon became Regardless of the size or scale of a musical instrument retail store, a recurring trend for Beshara and, before he knew it, that single sale qualities like creativity, adaptability, organization, and forethought are turned into a decently sized stock of musical products. That’s when critical to the survival and success of any operation – perhaps even the now-renowned Class Axe Guitars set up shop to serve its commu- more so for those stores loyally serving smaller markets. After all, in nity of Kemptville, ON. most cases, they’re competing with the same encroaching forces as their counterparts in the big centres – increasing competition from online outlets and cross-border shopping, shrinking margins, and homogenization on the back of chain stores and big-box retailers moving into the MI market. And then there’s the competition from within the industry, striving to keep customers shopping local instead of heading off however many kilometers to the nearest city to take advantage of the often lower pricing that those dealing in larger quantities can offer. Indeed, it’s a challenging time for retail across the board, but especially so for those in smaller markets. So what is it that keeps these retailers – some who’ve inherited stores from the generations that have preceded them and others who’ve opened up shop despite some notoriously hostile circumstances – passionate about their work and continually striving to serve their customers? Richard Popiez of A&R Music, Walkerton, ON The answer is the reward that comes with being the go-to mu- sical hub for a community – that comes with bringing the tools and know-how to current and could-be musicians that pushes them for- “ “People like that our store has some attitude. A lot of people like ward on their musical journeys and, moreover, their development as that rather than shopping at what I call a box store,” Beshara proudly individuals. shares. “I would say probably 75 to 80 per cent of our customers will It’s one thing – and no