The MagazineMarketplaceEventsResourcesNewsContact

March 11 | Sam Ash | Event
Sammy Ash Takes Part in
Reddit's Ask Me Anything Chat

Sammy Ash, COO of Sam Ash Music, appeared on social news site Reddit's Ask Me Anything live chat on Feb. 19, adding his name to a long list of past participants that includes Molly Ringwald, Bill Gates and Barack Obama.

Ask Me Anything, or AMA, is an online public forum where anyone from musicians to astronauts to even bear attack survivors field questions from Reddit users. For about four hours, Ash took questions on everything from his all-time favorite guitars to what he thinks of his competition and where he sees the musical products industry heading.

One user asked if the company had any plans to stock smaller brand name items, citing Agile guitars as an example.

"The problem today is there are way too many brands to carry, both big and small," Ash responded. "We don't dabble with a company; we support them. That means, many, many models on a wall. It makes it very difficult for us to carry a huge number of brands. Guitars alone we carry 30 [to] 40 different brands. There are a number of really nice, small companies that we'd love to carry, but we physically don't have the room for them all."

Also on the topic of smaller brands, Ash responded to a user who asked if Sam Ash Music had any plans to step foot into the boutique market.

"We love the boutique market, but it just doesn't seem to love us," he said. "We're in talks with Fano, Collings, and several others. Apparently, we're too big for most."

A common theme of Ash's AMA session was the Internet's evolving role in MI sales.

"We are a pretty large company and 90 percent of our customers still walk through the door while 10 percent shop on the Web," he said in regards to a question about the demographics of brick-and-mortar shoppers. "I will admit that the Web numbers are growing at a rapid rate. As a guitar player, I've gotta touch it, feel it, and smell it before I would buy it."

On the future of the industry, Ash commented that he thinks the next decade will produce a "mixture of the Internet and stores working hand-in-hand."

"I still think most people want the experience of seeing a large selection in person, physically holding their purchase before they buy it, and talking directly to someone face to face for advice," he said. "There's no doubt that the Internet is here to stay, but I don't think it's going to take over the world."

Click here for the whole conversation.