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“Has to Be Better Than Last Year” – MI Retailers Look to Capitalize on a Return to In-Person, Classroom Schooling

Christian Wissmuller • September 2021Survey • September 6, 2021

The 2020 academic year was challenging in a number of respects (maybe you noticed?) and school music programs – and the MI dealers who serve them – felt the crunch.

While there are, unfortunately, signs that we’re all not quite in the clear and “back to normal” yet, it nonetheless seems probable that in most areas of the country, in-class learning will once again become the rule, rather than the exception. Many retailers are anticipating this shift back to more familiar territory by planning accordingly. More than half of the participants in this month’s dealer survey (51%) report that they’ll be hosting some type of “Back to School” sale or promotion – a complete 180-degree shift from last summer, when just over half (50.8%) said they had no plans to launch any initiative in advance of the fall semester.

“Lots of unknowns still, but we are thinking positively and trying to be as ‘normal’ as possible,” offers Drew Parker of Separk Music in Lewisville, North Carolina, while David Garmon of Elberton, Georgia’s Dave’s Music perhaps sums up the overall hopes for the coming school year most succinctly: “Everyone I talk to is ready to get back to business!”

What are your overall expectations for “Back to School” sales this summer?

“Schools are spending leftover cash from ‘20-‘21. We expect ‘21-‘22 to be strong with re-recruiting in multiple grades.”

Dave Krogan
Frank Rieman Music, Inc.
Des Moines, Iowa

“Increased from last year (pandemic).”

Ruth O’Neil
Song-a-Day Music
Coventry, Connecticut

“A great year. Everyone I talk to is ready to get back to business!”

David Garmon
Dave’s Music
Elberton, Georgia

“We are expecting them to be up (fingers crossed)”

Pat Bowles
Saied Music Company
North Little Rock, Arkansas

“I think things are slowly getting back to normal. We are planning on starting next year like a normal school year.”

Bart Breber
Breber Music Co.
|Elkhorn, Wisconsin

“Looks better than 2020. We expect music enrollment down 20 percent [though].”

Ted Kuehnert
Jim’s Music Center
Tustin, California

“Over the summer, sales are shaping up to be a bit thinner than prior to the pandemic. We do anticipate a strong fall and holiday season, however.”

Jonathon Breen
The Music Shoppe, Inc.
Normal, Illinois

“YTD sales are record-setting, we are more concerned with keeping the supply of products flowing than discounting merchandise.”

Geoff Metts
Five Star Guitars
Beaverton, Oregon

“Has to be better than last year. Hoping we can get people excited about getting back to music.”

Richard Frankel
Musical Offerings
Derby, Kansas

“We sell pianos and along with supporting local music festivals, we have scheduled early summer visits with local school districts and colleges.”

Dave Bender
Cunningham Piano Co.
King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

“Hopefully much better than last year.”

Ron Shuff
Shuff’s Music
Franklin, Tennessee

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