November 28, 2023 I Operations

MI Retailers Report Strong Black Friday Weekend

From left: Music Land's Larry Noto, Jim's Music's EJ Dombrowski and Bill Harris Music's Ford Harris.

Last weekend marked the kickoff of the holiday shopping season, with music retailers nationwide striking the perfect chord of discounted deals and community events. Music Inc. reached out to a few indie MI retailers to hear how both Black Friday and Small Business Saturday went at their stores, and, overall, the sales results were positive.

Larry Noto, owner of Music Land in Bel Air, Maryland, said one of his store’s sales events was significantly off in November, so the store amped up its Black Friday coupon — both in the amount and the length it was valid for.

“We’re now slightly above last year, though inflation has definitely hurt our profitability,” Noto said.

EJ Dombrowski, vice president of Jim’s Music in Green Bay, Wisconsin, said his four-location, full-line dealership has seen increased success by celebrating Black Friday early with its “10 Days of Deals” event.

“We did [our] 10 Days of Deals event on Facebook that ran from Nov. 14–24, and it was a good investment,” Dombrowski said. “Last year was a good benchmark, but our sales this year were better because of our doorbuster deals on ukuleles and free gift cards for the first few customers in line.”

Dombrowski said those discounted deals on instruments, giveaway prizes and doorbusters drew customers in, providing them with an opportunity to explore the rest of the stores’ showrooms. Exclusive deals further heightened the sense of anticipation, driving both experienced players and casual shoppers through the doors. Jim’s Music saw more traffic coming in before the big Black Friday event and had a better sales weekend than last year’s, something Dombrowski attributed to its early holiday prep and marketing strategies.

“Between our four stores, we saw more big-ticket purchases and less small walk-in traffic,” Dombrowski said. “We started on Friday and extended through the weekend, but Friday was our kickoff and it ended on Sunday.”

At Bill Harris Music in Provo, Utah, manager Ford Harris said his store has been running deals since Nov. 14 to prepare for the weekend. These deals included up to 70% off new and used pianos, buy-one-get-one-half-off accessories and free soft cases with fretted instrument purchases.

“We do a lot of local repairs, and we’re the only shop within our county that has someone doing repairs everyday, so that’s definitely helped with foot traffic,” Harris said. “We also tried new sales tactics for our social media campaigns that can carry over to our Christmas specials.”

Harris said his store invested in an independent marketer to help with media campaigns for the holiday season to reach more customers.

“We found [Instagram] Reels and videos are more effective in terms of views and reachability. Our Reels had over 5,000 views this season, which is above normal,” Harris said. “We strive to do our best as a small business, recognizing that our budgets are often tighter compared to larger competitors in our industry. While we may not always match their advertising and marketing scale, we take pride in showcasing our competitive edge — especially now, where some of our prices are aligning with giants like Amazon or Guitar Center.” MI

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