Those of you who have been following this blog have seen my studio grow from a single keyboard, bass guitar and drum set to a multi-room, multi-lots-of-stuff full blown starter studio.  That involved a lot of new equipment buys.

Those of you who have followed my Tech Please – I’m Outta Here thread may have noted our move to the country and our desire to do a lot of local business.  That in mind, despite the fact that you can get anything on the Internet, I wanted to do my music business locally.  Mind you, I still love dealing with Just Drums in North York.

There are three main music stores near my home and I live about equidistant from them all.  Fromagers Music in Owen Sound.  Kerry’s Music and Computers in Meaford and Blue Mountain Music in Collingwood.  There’s also Joe’s Music Store in Collingwood.

I am excluding the figures for Just Drums which includes my new Gretsch kit and a few other toys.  I’m including Barrie stores as they are a significant part of my purchases and the largest local city within a one hour drive.

If you look at my spending over the past year, which is the massive studio build-up time, you’ll see the percentages as follows (Estimated);

I’ve included figures for all the stores I shop at  to keep things close to accurate.  Some stores (Best Buy & Pro Music) are located further away from me though.  Best Buy, it should be noted, has the BEST prices on everything (that they carry) and they ship free.

That said, I was recently asked by someone entering into the retail business field “What makes you shop at one local store more than another?”.

I stopped and seriously thought about it for a minute.  Here’s what I said;

“Stock turn-over.  I like going into a store that has new things all the time.  A store that sells stuff turns over inventory and is always fun to check out.

Next I’d have to say customer service.  Face it.  In this day and age, finding someone with knowledge about what they’re selling is a rarity.  Anyone can read an Internet blurb and chances are if your customer is asking about it, they’ve already been to the vendor’s site.  We all have the same info so go the extra mile.  COMMUNICATE WITH  THE CUSTOMER.  If you don’t have the answer.  Get it.  Get it fast.  Don’t wank him around.   Communication is the key.  Good news or bad news, tell the customer quickly.

Finally, it’s the willingness to deal.  The best price is usually on the Net until you factor in duty and HST (for us Canadians).  Nobody expects a local shop to match the price of a big chain but if you’re willing to deal a bit you’re likely to move more inventory.  Some folks will pay a few bucks extra for good customer service (see above).

And that’s why I said I shopped as I did and will continue to.

Stay tuned…