24 Hour Local Real Estate News

Sam Ash, Century-Old Music Instruments Retailer, Shutting Down

Generations of kids—particularly in the New York City area—got their first musical instrument after their parents visited a Sam Ash store, the retail chain founded 100 years ago by Sam and Rose Ash, who opened their first shop in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn in 1924.

The chain, which sold guitars, drums and every other musical instrument you can think of to professional musicians as well as beginners, grew to 42 outlets in 16 states over the past century.

Sam Ash has announced that it will be closing all of its stores by the end of July. Derek Ash, great-grandson of the founders—and chief marketing officer of the retailer—said the company could not compete with online, direct-to-customer sales.

"A lot of this has been the move to online shopping," Ash said, in an interview with the New York Times. "There are so many choices, and to maintain a store with that much selection is very difficult."

In March, when the retailer announced it would close 18 locations, it was hoping to "buy some time" for the company to survive, Ash told the newspaper, but closing all of the stores ended up being "a necessity."

Sam Ash has stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Virginia.

For years, the chain's flagship store on West 48th Street in Manhattan anchored what was known as Music Row, which was packed with music stores selling instruments.

The 48th Street store closed more than a decade ago, replaced by a location on West 34th Street that now will close. Several stores in the chain have commenced going-out-of-business sales and will be closing before the end of this month, Ash said, with the rest closing by the end of July.

Sam Ash came to NYC from Austria when he was 10 years old. He worked in the garment industry and played the violin at weddings and other social events.

According to the company's website, he and Rose pawned her engagement ring for $400 to make a down payment on what became the first Sam Ash store. She later got the ring back.
Reprinted with permission from the Thu, 09 May 2024 05:57:14 EDT online edition of GlobeSt © 2024 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All rights reserved. Further duplication without permission is prohibited, contact 877-256-2472 or reprints@alm.com.