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Northern California Combo Dealers Expand, Contract

In the same week one Northern California combo retailer began retrenching, another announced its expansion.

Zone Music of Cotati, led by music retail veteran Frank Hayhurst, recently closed shop to remodel. According to Hayhurst, it’s scheduled to reopen at the end of August with a narrower focus, as a guitar and amp dealership. Zone will also continue designing and installing audio/video systems. The company held a sale earlier this month to clear out inventory.

“It’s just that a fully stocked store is no longer appropriate,” he told Petaluma 360.

Santa Rosa Goes Bananas
Longtime San Rafael combo retailer Bananas at Large also announced plans to open a second location in Santa Rosa. According to owner Alan Rosen, the new store will have a soft opening in September.

“There’s really nothing up there,” Rosen said of the Santa Rosa market. “You have to go down to Cotati or Petaluma before you hit a legitimate music store.”

Rosen added that he negotiated a competitive lease on the building, which previously housed Stars Music and, later, Music X. To better support the area’s Latino community, the store will dabble in band instruments and accordions, which Bananas at Large doesn’t carry at its San Rafael store.

Rosen said he plans to give the new location a heavy promotional push during the holidays. This will include e-mail blasts, events and sending Bananas’ year-end catalog to a larger mailing list. The store has already been added to Google Places, Yelp and Yellow Pages’ Web site.

“[We’re] doing this in a challenging time,” Rosen said. “What better time to do it?”