RIP Riff City, We barely got to know ya!

DisasterArea

Owner, Disaster Area Designs and Alexander Pedals
I bought a Keeley Aria and they sent me a oatmeal raisin cookie. No wonder they went under.
Oatmeal raisin is my favourite. Actually, if you like oatmeal raisin, Aldi has an excellent oatmeal cranberry cookie under their Bake Shop brand.



Regarding Riff City, no idea. We did enjoy having them as a dealer, they were always great to work with.
 

GeLoFi

Supporting Member
Reading the letter it sounds like Joe saw the writing on the wall very early and likely got out on a very high note.
 

ColorBlindJames

Silver Supporting Member
From their website:

A Letter About Our Closing
Thank you! We are sorry to say good-bye.
First of all, to the loyal fans of Riff City, I want to say how much I appreciate your support this past 7 years.

The best business advice I have ever gotten, and frankly have given to others, about starting a business is to go where there is a real need. To find a business or an aspect of the business where there is less supply than demand…where you can offer something unique, not just “better quality, better service.”

Gear Buyers today have so many choices. Not only in the number of products available but also, places to buy them. While there is no doubt that the music gear business is a very fun place to be, it requires a massive investment in inventory and has become extremely competitive at the point of sale.

As a company, we have determined that the investment relative to the opportunity to stand out and offer something unique no longer equates to a good business investment for us.

I also want to address the questions we’ve gotten and will continue to get about the Chapman guitars situation, lest there be any misinformation.

Chapman was a brand that we took a risk on, which paid off exponentially. It was truly one of the most incredible journeys any retailer has ever taken with a brand. Because it was small and had no significant representation in retail stores in the USA, we invested in 2 “American Expedition” bus tours and brought Rob Chapman and his team along with every model of Chapman guitar to major cites on both coasts and were prepared to do it again. We forged lifelong friendships with his team and with fans across the USA.

It was truly the first YouTube celebrity brand to make it in this industry, and that helped Riff City Guitar become known to thousands of fans who may have never heard of us otherwise. We have no regrets about the risks we took.

Last year Chapman guitars had the opportunity to sell their guitars to the largest retailer of music gear in the US and took that opportunity. As anyone would expect, there was a significant reduction in our market share of the brand. But that is life, and moreover, that is business!

The Chapman Guitar brand was indeed that “something” unique for Riff City Guitar for nearly 5 years. We looked high and low for similar brands to promote and expand along the way, but that was a once-in-a-business-lifetime opportunity!

So, it is also “business” that brings us to our decision to move out of the musical instrument retail sector. Simply put, we no longer see an opportunity to add enough unique value to the industry to support the margins required to offer the service levels and product selection already available by other, incredible and more established retailers in the industry.

We will really miss our loyal customers and business partners, and I cannot say thank you enough for supporting us this past 7 years.

With a heavy heart,

Joe

P.S. With all of the friends we’ve gained and knowledge of the market, we plan to continue our Riff City Channel 2 content site to continue to promote our favorite brands. Several of our staff and freelancers will be working to bring you news, reviews, and other industry insights. We’d love to have your support in that endeavor- and if you are a writer, video creator or are interested in contributing to our content- please reach out and describe how you’d like to help by clicking here.

Notes about the closing:

No more reward points will be accrued upon sale, but all points you have accrued are good to spend as long as we have stock and the website is published. Spend your points as soon as you can while the selection is still good! Once we close there will be no value to your points.

Customer service will be electronic only, no phone support will be provided, except for callbacks in certain situations. Service hours will be from 11 to 5 M-F until we close.

Shipping times will vary. It may take up to 2 days after the sale on stringed instruments that are to be inspected due to the heavy volume of orders.

We do not have a specific date in mind for the final closing, it will depend on how quickly the remaining stock sells out.

All sales are final. All items are being sold “as is.”

Stringed instruments will be inspected but NOT SETUP beyond what the factory provided.

Cookies will be provided only while supplies last. :)
 

COYS

Supporting Member
That's too bad. They had good prices at their retail locations, which were comparable to the big boys and to the online stores.

That's what guitar buyers say that they want, but in the end it seems like people like the *idea* of buying retail when prices are at least competitive with online, but they don't actually do it.
 

Segovia

Member
I think it was probably a mixture of Chapman being sold at Guitar Center now, and perhaps trying to expand more than they should have. Their original store/warehouse were about an hour northwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. They opened a store in a suburb of Minneapolis, and one in Sioux Falls, SD within the past few years. There were several times I went to the one near Minneapolis fully intending on buying something (not rare stuff either....Strymon Timeline, Source Audio Nemesis, Ryra Klone, etc...), but they didn't have it at that location and would have had to have it delivered from the main warehouse. I just went down the road to another shop and bought them. Both the Sioux Falls store, and the Minneapolis store closed prior to this announcement.

It was a neat store, but never really felt like a "mom and pop" shop. The stores kind of felt like Guitar Center light (but with cookies).
 

SpaceCat

Member
That's sad to hear. I always wanted to check them out, but they're over an hour and a half outside the Twin Cities.
 

Vhailor

Supporting Member
I think it was probably a mixture of Chapman being sold at Guitar Center now, and perhaps trying to expand more than they should have. Their original store/warehouse were about an hour northwest of Minneapolis/St. Paul. They opened a store in a suburb of Minneapolis, and one in Sioux Falls, SD within the past few years. There were several times I went to the one near Minneapolis fully intending on buying something (not rare stuff either....Strymon Timeline, Source Audio Nemesis, Ryra Klone, etc...), but they didn't have it at that location and would have had to have it delivered from the main warehouse. I just went down the road to another shop and bought them. Both the Sioux Falls store, and the Minneapolis store closed prior to this announcement.

It was a neat store, but never really felt like a "mom and pop" shop. The stores kind of felt like Guitar Center light (but with cookies).
Interesting, but I never even knew that they were a retail store chain; I thought, until now, in fact, that they were an online-only retailer.
 

Segovia

Member
Interesting, but I never even knew that they were a retail store chain; I thought, until now, in fact, that they were an online-only retailer.
Yep...they've had their main store outside of St. Cloud, MN for several years. In the past few years they expanded down into Minneapolis, MN and Sioux Falls, SD. I'm sure they always did a massive majority of their sales online though (especially once they brought Chapman on board).
 

feet

Silver Supporting Member
Oatmeal raisin is my favourite. Actually, if you like oatmeal raisin, Aldi has an excellent oatmeal cranberry cookie under their Bake Shop brand.



Regarding Riff City, no idea. We did enjoy having them as a dealer, they were always great to work with.
my favorite thing to have with oatmeal raisin cookies are flaming hot cheetos. you chase one with the other. the sweet and the hot. it's a fascinating combination.
 
online music stores are not viable businesses anymore. even the most popular ones have almost no inventory. no idea how any of them are able to support anyone.
 


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