“People are flocking to music. The instrument shops are trying to follow. | Local company
CHESTERFIELD – Abby McGuire started playing the ukulele at the age of 5. A few years later, she sold 300 homemade bookmarks to earn money for a ¾ size guitar. Now a fifth-grade student, Abby has spent the pandemic taking virtual classes, training on her own, even giving a recital in court.
In October, her mother took her to buy a Christmas present: a full-size guitar. “I heard from her instructor that if she wanted one we better get it right away,” said Julie McGuire, who lives in Chesterfield.
Instruments were harder to find during the pandemic, especially guitars. Some players, like Abby, spent more hours on their hobby while stuck at home and are now in the process of leveling up. Others are testing their musical talents for the first time by purchasing starter tracks. Scrambled supply chains further refined the selection.
One of the few bright spots for the stores has been sales of musical instruments. Foot traffic has collapsed. In-person classes have stalled. And rentals – without school programs – are almost non-existent. Repair jobs are on the rise, as are online sales, but they haven’t always made up for other losses.
Guitar Center, the largest retailer of musical instruments in the United States, reported an 85% increase in business in August, moving nearly three times as many guitars as usual. But that wasn’t enough to avert bankruptcy, which the company blamed on the inability to rebound after the spring closure of most of its nearly 300 stores.