Gibson Brands (formerly Gibson Guitars) is having it’s share of fiscal difficulties these days as outlined previously in this blog, and word that it’s selling its iconic Memphis factory is just another indicator just how deep those issues are. The 127,000 square foot factory is now on the blocks for a cool $17 million. The building also houses a large entertainment venue, and the price even includes a 330-space parking lot. The Memphis factory produces Gibson’s semi-hollow and hollow body instruments.
According to a company statement, “A new facility will allow the company to improve the product quality, increase production capacity and potentially increase employment in the area,” reads the statement. “Gibson is seeking a buyer for the current location that will allow it to continue to operate in this location while building and leasing an appropriate facility in proximity to the current factory location.”
Gibson Brands CEO Henry Juszkiewicz went on to say, “We are extremely excited about this next phase of growth that we believe will benefit both our employees, and the Memphis community. I remember when our property had abandoned buildings, and Beale Street was in decline. It is with great pride that I can see the development of this area with a basketball arena, hotels, and a resurgent pride in the musical heritage of the great city of Memphis.”
This sounds a lot of corporate spin, but I’m not so sure you could expect them to say anything else. No company wants to hang out a public sign that says, “We have money problems so we’re selling off our real estate,” although that’s exactly what the sale of this property announces loudly and clearly.
The good news is that the company intends to stay in Memphis, at least for now, but so much can change in the time between the factory is sold and closes that nothing’s a sure thing here.
It’s sad to see iconic brands change, but nothing stays the same forever. Too bad that goes for instrument quality as well.[photo: H. Michael Miley]