The advent of United Parcel Service (UPS) in the late 1960s meant that dealers no longer depended on large orders to get low freight rates. Instead, they could place smaller orders more often. Large distributors with slow fill rates lost market share to more efficient competitors.
Dozens of established distributors handled product for American manufacturers in the early 1950s and played a key role in the music industry. Distributors carried a wide variety of instruments, gave liberal credit terms, took small orders and advised young dealers on everything from store layout to promotional ideas. Their road reps were generally friendly and helpful.
Then a booming market and changes in technology thinned the ranks. United Postal Service (UPS) and Wide Area Telephone Service (WATS) lines accelerated processing and left some distributors in the dust. Catalog houses and big volume retailers started buying direct from manufacturers. Some manufacturers had grown so large, they created their own cost-effective distribution systems.
Many wholesalers were left with only accessories and some European imports. The most ambitious, such as MIDCO International, St. Louis Music, C. Bruno & Son and Buegeleisen & Jacobson, turned to Japan for products to ride the guitar boom. Kaman Corporation, manufacturers of the Ovation guitar, successfully entered the wholesale business in 1967 when they acquired Coast Wholesale Corporation.
Street Address:Museum of Making Music5790 Armada DriveCarlsbad, CA 92008Phone: (760) 438-5996Fax: (760) 438-8964Toll Free: (877) 551-9976Send us an eMail