Riff City Guitars is closing

ThePriseInferno

Well... does it?
#1
Super, super sad to receive this email from Joe via the RCG email list... it's reflected on the RCG website. Some decent deals to be had if you peruse there.

Here's the contents of the email as an explanation:

------------------------------

First of all, to the loyal fans of Riff City, I want to say how much I appreciate your support this past 7 years.

The best business advice I have ever gotten, and frankly have given to others, about starting a business is to go where there is a real need. To find a business or an aspect of the business where there is less supply than demand…where you can offer something unique, not just “better quality, better service.”

Gear Buyers today have so many choices. Not only in the number of products available but also, places to buy them. While there is no doubt that the music gear business is a very fun place to be, it requires a massive investment in inventory and has become extremely competitive at the point of sale.

As a company, we have determined that the investment relative to the opportunity to stand out and offer something unique no longer equates to a good business investment for us.

I also want to address the questions we’ve gotten and will continue to get about the Chapman guitars situation, lest there be any misinformation.

Chapman was a brand that we took a risk on, which paid off exponentially. It was truly one of the most incredible journeys any retailer has ever taken with a brand. Because it was small and had no significant representation in retail stores in the USA, we invested in 2 “American Expedition” bus tours and brought Rob Chapman and his team along with every model of Chapman guitar to major cites on both coasts and were prepared to do it again. We forged lifelong friendships with his team and with fans across the USA.

It was truly the first YouTube celebrity brand to make it in this industry, and that helped Riff City Guitar become known to thousands of fans who may have never heard of us otherwise. We have no regrets about the risks we took.

Last year Chapman guitars had the opportunity to sell their guitars to the largest retailer of music gear in the US and took that opportunity. As anyone would expect, there was a significant reduction in our market share of the brand. But that is life, and moreover, that is business!

The Chapman Guitar brand was indeed that “something” unique for Riff City Guitar for nearly 5 years. We looked high and low for similar brands to promote and expand along the way, but that was a once-in-a-business-lifetime opportunity!

So, it is also “business” that brings us to our decision to move out of the musical instrument retail sector. Simply put, we no longer see an opportunity to add enough unique value to the industry to support the margins required to offer the service levels and product selection already available by other, incredible and more established retailers in the industry.

We will really miss our loyal customers and business partners, and I cannot say thank you enough for supporting us this past 7 years.

With a heavy heart,

Joe

P.S. With all of the friends we’ve gained and knowledge of the market, we plan to continue our Riff City Channel 2 content site to continue to promote our favorite brands. Several of our staff and freelancers will be working to bring you news, reviews, and other industry insights. We’d love to have your support in that endeavor- and if you are a writer, video creator or are interested in contributing to our content- please reach out and describe how you’d like to help by [sending an email to creatorteam AT riffcityguitar DOT com] (link removed).
 

everfreetree

I... I like trees.
#3
I just saw the email... breaks my heart. :(
I genuinely considered Riff City every time I looked into buying something music-related, even before shopping Reverb and Sweetwater, cause they were just plain worth it, over any other option I had.

I guess that would explain the Chapman thing quite well, along with other strange things I noticed, recently.
I always hate to see a music store close, but especially ones that tried as hard as Joe and Co. did.
They put a smile on my face, many times, and talking to Joe in person was absolutely pleasant and enjoyable, as well as our phone conversations when I had some issues with my ML-3. They are great people, and Riff City Guitar was a great store.
I honestly could not possibly have seen this coming, and it didn't even enter my mind as an option, when considering why they stopped stocking Chapman.

Much love and well wishes to Joe and everyone at Riff City. I hope they all do alright with whatever they do next.
 

beans & rice

Well-Known Member
#4
They were even running a 2X points special through the 4th of July weekend. Guess they were holding out until the very last possible second.

Thanks to the team for getting an ML3 into my grubby hands, along with the other few things I picked up along the way.

I raise a cookie to Riff City.

cookie.jpg
 

ScutMonkey

Well-Known Member
#8
Really sad. I bought two guitars from them. I wonder what they could have done differently to survive. Probably nothing. Small operators catch it from both ends. Guitar makers treat them like crap and buyers always want a deal. If you want to stay in business as a small shop you probably have to go used and offer lessons. Cut out the manufacturers.
 

Tankman

Subtly not giving a F*ck
#9
I'm very sad to hear this. It seemed like a cool store with great people running it. Unfortunately this is the trend. I see the same thing happening in the Netherlands/Belgium. Everybody is ordering from the Dutch or German equivalent to Guitar Center (Bax-Shop/Thomann) while their local dealer is suffering. Now I have to admit not all the local dealers are great, but some truly are and it's sad that the same fate awaits them.
 

Lonestar

SC Relics Guitars
#12
The music world is far more competitive now but there are ways of surviving and flourishing. Without a USP though.... not easy. There are a lot more custom services available too which cut out music shops altogether. The retail scene has been changing for years and years now. It’s inevitable that if some owners aren’t covering basic costs there’s only so much time to keep things going. They seemed liked a good shop, pity to see another one gone.
 

everfreetree

I... I like trees.
#13
The music world is far more competitive now but there are ways of surviving and flourishing. Without a USP though.... not easy. There are a lot more custom services available too which cut out music shops altogether. The retail scene has been changing for years and years now. It’s inevitable that if some owners aren’t covering basic costs there’s only so much time to keep things going. They seemed liked a good shop, pity to see another one gone.
This whole thing just... really emphasizes how lucky I feel to have 2 "proper, small town music stores" near me, cause one of them isn't likely to close any time soon, since he keeps the lights on, etc, by doing equipment rentals and installs for churches and the like (which there is no shortage of, here in the Bible Belt, heh), so he doesn't have to worry as much about just staying open or making the absolute most profits from his sales. They also do lessons and deal in plenty of used inventory, and the occasional "holy grail" guitar/amp/pedal that floats in, which he also deals in online (and vintage toys, but that's more of a "hobby that pleasantly pays for itself", really).
And the other one focuses primarily on lessons, and smaller brand guitars (he's actually a Dean/Luna dealer, and basically nothing else), and just tries to get people to actually enjoy their visit, but... you can tell he's not doing great, and I can't help but feel he won't be open for long, sadly (he jokingly said "When you come back, bring a friend, or 10! And tell them to bring lots and LOTS of money! That too!" and I laughed, but... the way he laughed and then looked at the floor in defeat, KINDA felt like a genuine cry for help, too, heh).
Also, trying to expand to more than one location has been the nail in the coffin of more than one small business I liked, around here.
 
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