There’s been a lot of talk about the financial health of Guitar Center over the last few years, but it seems like things are going better for the retail giant these days. One example is the fact that its Hollywood flagship store has recently undergone a major $5 million renovation that completely redesigns what was already a very impressive outlet.
The huge 30,000 square foot retail space reopened almost 33 years to the day after GC’s first location was launched on Sunset Boulevard in 1985. The remodeled store features an assortment of musical instruments, a 15-foot-long interactive pedal display, a 24-foot-wide snare drum wall, interactive brand displays from manufacturers such as Fender and Gibson, and the retailer’s largest standalone vintage guitar room featuring rare vintage instruments. Music memorabilia is also showcased throughout the store, including Eric Clapton’s “Blackie” Fender Stratocaster and other gear from BB King, Slash, Johnny Cash, Eddie Van Halen and St. Vincent.
I’ve heard from several manufacturers that business has been brisk at Guitar Center and things are much more organized these days than in the recent past. In fact, many manufacturers are now eager to return to GC after a few years of apprehension.
The fact is that Guitar Center is actually growing with 8 new locations planned for 2019 to go along with its 290 existing stores.
Many of us thought that the company wouldn’t survive this long, yet it’s difficult for investors and bond holders to give up on a company that generates over $2 billion per year and is one of the country’s largest private companies. The company is well-managed as compared to some of the recent retail bankruptcies like Toys R Us, Payless Shoes, and Radio Shack. The problem was that its previous owner paid too much in a leveraged buyout back in 2007. If its debt were less today then all the speculation about its future would be gone.
Buying online is quick and easy but there’s still something about going to a brick and mortar store to physically handle a piece of music gear before you buy it, which is why stores like Guitar Center will continue to exist for some time to come.