Consumer electronics giant Best Buy Co. is adding musical instruments to its entertainment repertoire at about 85 stores.
Today, Best Buy Pembroke Pines became the first of six stores in South Florida slated to carry the instrument by the year’s end. The store will feature more than 1,000 guitars, bass drums, keyboards, recording equipment and other instruments.
The store had offered a smattering of beginner guitars and home-recording equipment, but wants a bigger slice of the $7.5 billion U.S. market.
“Consumers have always looked to us as a resource for music in a variety of formats. Now they’ll be able to rely on us for help with musical performance and creating, too,” Steve Hehir, the chain’s senior vice president of musical instruments said.
The stores will cater to novice and professional musicians and carry brands such as Fender, Gibson, Roland and Drum Workshop. The Best Buy in Pembroke Pines will have five to seven trained musical instrument specialists and will offer guitar lessons. There also will be drum and amplifier rooms to test equipment.
Sammy Ash, chief operating officer of Sam Ash Music Corp., said the chain’s extensive instrument selection, along with the passionate “guitar heads” staff should hopefully insulate them from bigger rival Best Buy.
Sam Ash Music, the No. 2 U.S. musical instrument retailer with three of its 45 stores in South Florida, has been in the music business since 1924. Still, Ash said Best Buy might lure some business away initially because of its existing customer base and the convenience of one-stop shopping.
At Boomer’s Music in Wellington, owner Melody Stuart said she’s not worrying about Best Buy’s musical overtures. In Fort Lauderdale, at Music Arts Enterprises, a 45-year-old independent music store, reaction is mixed.
“If Best Buy dives in and they’re highly successful, it’ll certainly hurt us and others,” co-owner Mike Katz said.
The electronics big-box retailer already is looking to harness cross-over potential of video gamers, by placing displays and gaming stations near store entrances to spike interest.
“If you’re selling that much Guitar Hero and Rock Band why not sell the real thing?” said Russ Crupnick, an analyst with The NDP Group, a market research firm that tracks the video-game industry.
Eve Sullivan is a contributing editor for TMCnet, covering news in the IP communications, call center and customer relationship management industries. To read more of Eve's articles, please visit her columnist page.
Edited by Eve Sullivan