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Sam Ash to close 18 of its 44 US stores – reportedly including branches in Clearwater and Hollywood

An employee at the Clearwater branch says the news came “literally out of nowhere”.

Sam Ash

NEW YORK, NEW YORK – DECEMBER 30: People walk past Sam Ash music store on December 30, 2020 in New York City. The pandemic has caused long-term repercussions throughout the tourism and entertainment industries, including temporary and permanent closures of historic and iconic venues, costing the city and businesses billions in revenue. (Photo by Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)

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Th US music retail giant Sam Ash is preparing to close 18 of its 44 stores across the country, including its historic branch in Clearwater, Florida.

An employee at the Clearwater branch, which is housed in a distinctive dome-shaped building, tells Patch that the news “literally came out of nowhere” and that he had been made redundant just after getting promoted. He says he was unsure of the timeline of the store’s closure.

“It’s a shame. I know there’s a lot of history in the building and I know a lot of customers are very sad,” he adds.

Employees had been seen putting up signs reading ‘Liquidation Sale!’ and ‘Everything Must Go!’ with prices slashed across the store. Reports have also suggested that even the store’s fixtures are for sale.

Sam Ash store
LOS ANGELES, CA – JULY 16: Exterior of Sam Ash Music store is seen on July 16, 2004 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)

The Hollywood branch of Sam Ash is also rumored to be shutting its doors for the final time – per this thread on Talk Bass – as is its store in New Haven, Connecticut. The New Haven branch’s manager has said that it will close at the end of May.

Sam Ash is the largest chain of family-owned music stores in the US and also one of the oldest, having been founded in 1924 and remaining in the Ash family ever since.

According to the market research firm IBISWorld [via CTInsider], the number of stores selling musical instruments and supplies has been gradually declining in the United States over the last five years, dropping at a rate of 2.9 percent per year on average.

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