Century-Old Music Retailer Sam Ash Files for Bankruptcy, but ‘Stay Tuned’

Sam Ash has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey and plans to close all of its 42 stores across 16 states. The privately owned family business, long known as a premiere music retailer, is exploring options that could include selling its ecommerce operations and related IP as well as its “Samson” wholesale business.

“Launched by my grandparents in 1924, Sam Ash is one of the best-known and most iconic brands in the history of U.S. musical instrument retailing, with an online presence and sales that remain incredibly strong,” said David Ash, CEO of Sam Ash in a statement. “Unfortunately, in today’s post-COVID environment, the challenges to our brick-and-mortar business have necessitated a restructuring.

“We are exploring a number of strategic options in conjunction with these inventory sales,” Ash added. “We believe that a restructuring of our liabilities and a potential sale of the business or portions of the business is the best path forward to unlock and maximize value for the benefit of the company’s stakeholders. Stay tuned.”

Tiger Group and Gordon Brothers, which are conducting store closing sales, are emphasizing the rare opportunity these sales offer to musicians, DJs, producers, music educators and students. “Sam Ash offers a huge array of new and used gear from the best-known brands in music,” said Michael McGrail, COO of Tiger Group in a statement. “All within the same store, you could find a $9,000 spruce-and-cocobolo Martin guitar fit for a Nashville pro, or a $200 entry-level Fender bass that is perfect for someone just starting out. This is the kind of inventory that rarely, if ever, is available in a blowout sale.”


The Sam Ash stores that will be closed are in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

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