Music & Sound Retailer August 2021, Vol 38 No 8

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“If there is any one word that I can use to sum up 120 years [of NAMM], it is passion. We are all unsuited for any other occupation.” —NAMM’s Joe Lamond (right) speaking to Gibson CEO “JC” Curleigh.

Gibson president and CEO JC Curleigh and Joe Lamond at the Gibson Garage.

pandemic, so it is best to step back and gain some insight from our fellow MI professionals. Sammy Ash was first to describe his pandemic experience. “The first thing we had to do was get over ourselves,” said Ash. “Customers could not come in, and stores had to close. Before you know it, 85 percent of the business was shut down. We had to have a positive mindset. ‘We will get out of this. We will take care of it.’ But we had 1,000 people on furlough. That was very tough. I had worked with some of these people for 20 or 30 years.” But Sam Ash’s COO stressed that his company made it through the worst of the pandemic. “We are here, 18 months later, at a NAMM show,” he said. “Who thought this would happen? Did you think in January we would be sitting here?” One of the saving graces for Sam Ash during the pandemic was its online business. “Our online business went up threefold,” said Ash. “[But] can we ship out in time? Can we meet the challenge? It was great until the inventor y started to shrink.” Ash stressed no manufacturers were to blame for a lack of inventory, as they were caught MUSIC & SOUND RETAILER