GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Music stores in West Michigan are seeing some shortages of equipment during the pandemic, as sales increase but supply dwindles.
Back orders started last summer, primarily for Fender and Gibson guitars, according to Scott Kuizema, co-owner of RIT Music in Grand Rapids. Afterward, just about every other manufacturer joined them.
The pandemic has caused some manufacturing hiccups at home and abroad. At the same time, more people seem to be trying music.
“I think demand, especially for guitar, ukulele, has been up just because of people being home more and wanting to start something that they never had time to do before,” Kuizema said.
The shortage is affecting every instrument, with certain models of acoustic guitar and drums on back order for as long as a year.
“Quite often, we’ll get new shipments in and you might have shipment boxes sitting out here by the front door and selling stuff right out of the boxes,” he said.
He noted the business does not always lend itself well to online sales.
“You want to feel a guitar, you want to play it before you purchase it,” Kuizema said. “Same with drums; you might want to hear them, get your hands on them, physically see how they are and the quality.”
Because of the shortage of new gear, the store has seen a 25% increase in repairs. The owner said more people are preserving what they have.
The long and the short of it, he said, is that “demand is up, supply is down, it’s harder to get stuff.”