Its no surprise if a company is mismanaged, losing sales and being forced to close stores, that the actual closing of those stores would be mismanaged also.

If a business feels so little loyalty to its employees – hard-working people, most living paycheck-to-paycheck and dearly depending on those paychecks – that it announces closing of stores without giving their employees some certainty – whether a termination date with severance package, or opportunity to transfer to another location, etc.

Then why should that business expect loyalty from those same employees whose lives they’ve just thrown into turmoil?

sam ash employee ratings from indeed
Sam Ash employee ratings from Indeed

We’re already getting word of Clearwater Sam Ash guitar techs soliciting current Sam Ash guitar customers to do their repairs at the techs’ homes. Sales people and other workers are emailing resumes as I type this.

I figure the reason Sam Ash hasn’t announced a hard date for closing their Clearwater store is two-fold – they want to wring all they can out of current publicity from the store closings to conduct their “Store Closing – Everything Must Go” sale (even though “everything” can easily be moved to their Tampa store, which is remaining open), and they don’t know just how long they’ll be able to operate with a swiftly dwindling employee head-count.

It could also be their “game plan”. Having employees jump ship absolves Sam Ash from having to terminate employees or from offering them transfers to the Tampa store where employees there are already nervous, having witnessed the way their Clearwater compadres have been treated.

Another part of the game plan is likely a multi-step shut down procedure where forty percent of stores are closed in the first step. That would be the 18 of 44 Sam Ash stores nationwide that are currently closing.

Then, maybe a dozen of the remaining 26 stores close. The last step might be closing all but their online store and their headquarters, because since they have to have a place for employees to run the online store and a warehouse, they may as well retain a retail location there.

Other Florida Sam Ash stores closing include Miami Lakes and Orlando.

Of course, the Clearwater (and seventeen other stores) closing can’t solely be blamed on poor management. Brick and mortar retail stores have been under pressure from web stores for a long time now. But Sam Ash failed to grab the opportunity.

Guitar Center bought MusiciansFriend.com over two decades ago which remains highly successful. Sweetwater went  from a portable 4-track recording rig in a Volkswagon bus to being the nation’s leading retailer of music equipment with Sweetwater.com.

But the Sam Ash website was under promoted and under invested. It was so poorly programmed that I, as a retired software and web developer, accidentally discovered a hole to their backend server while shopping for guitar amp cables!

It led, not only to the server where I could issue commands, but to text files with unencrypted passwords to highly sensitive areas!

After notifying Sam Ash headquarters of their vulnerabilities, I then had to tell them how to fix them! Subsequentially, I offerred to do a security audit of their website and help them become more secure (while in the back of my mind, planning on helping them improve the customer user experience).

Sammy Ash

But they seemed concerned about spending money (we were talking about $1,000 to $1500 for the security re-do) and declined my offer – though Sammy did send a package and a nice note on the back of his business card.

Sammy Ash

Failure to invest in security, marketing and build a great relationship with your employees, is a recipe for failure. And it seems the time has come to take Sam Ash out of the oven – it is “done”.