• Tue. Jun 25th, 2024

Sam Ash to close down all 42 music store locations nationwide

Sam Ash to close down all 42 music store locations nationwide


Sam Ash — the iconic family-owned chain of music stores that attracted everyone from rock stars to wanna-be guitar heroes — will shut all of its stores after 100 years in business, the company said.

Derek Ash, the great-grandson of founders Sam and Rose Ash, said the company has struggled to attract customers to its 42 brick-and-mortar locations around the country, which include three in New York City.

“There are so many choices, and to maintain a store with that much selection is very difficult.” Derek Ash, the company’s chief marketing officer, told The New York Times, which first reported the closures.

Sam Ash is shutting down all 42 of its remaining stores, the company announced. Erik Pendzich/Shutterstock

“A lot of this has been the move to online shopping.”

The Post has sought comment from Derek Ash.

Sam Ash, a professional musician who was born Sam Ashkynase, opened the first store in Brownsville, Brooklyn in 1924 after immigrating to the US from Austria.

His wife pawned her engagement ring for $400 to make a down payment on what was to become the first store, according to the company’s website.

At the time, the store sold windup phonographs as well as a limited selection of sheet music and a few violins.

It quickly gained a following and Sam Ash expanded to Long Island and Manhattan before other outposts popped up around the country over the decades.

Sam Ash opened the first store in Brownsville, Brooklyn, in 1924 after immigrating to the US from Austria. Sam Ash
Rose Ash pawned her engagement ring for $400 to make a down payment on what was to become the first store, according to the company’s website. Sam Ash

Luis Infantas, who worked as a manager at a Sam Ash on 34th Street, told The Times that he has sold instruments to the likes of Stevie Wonder and late “Sopranos” actor James Gandolfini, who once stopped by to purchase drums for his son.

Music fans mourned the loss of an institution.

“I’d trade all 100 million of those pathetic AI songs to keep Sam Ash in business,” author Ted Gioia wrote on his X account.

Sam Ash began as a mom-and-pop shop in 1924. It grew into a chain that sold instruments and sheet music. Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Kate Stanton, an indie singer, wrote that she bought her first microphone at a Sam Ash store in Cincinnati.

“Walked in with a zillion questions, walked out feeling like a ‘real’ singer,” she wrote on X, adding: “Heartbreaking.”

The company currently operates stores in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Nevada.

It reportedly plans to close some of the stores by the end of the month and the rest by the end of July.

Sam Ash’s famed flagship store on West 48th Street closed in 2012.

Sam Ash plans to close some of its stores by the end of the month and all of the stores by the end of July. Universal Images Group via Getty Images

At one point, there were around 30 music stores and music-related businesses on West 48th Street between Sixth and Seventh Avenues.

Sam Ash itself owned half a dozen stores there.

By 1990, Sam Ash boasted eight locations in the New York metropolitan area alone before it expanded nationwide.



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