GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — “Some days are great, some days not, and it's no real rhyme or reason,” says RIT Music co-owner Scott Kuizema.”
Most business owners could say the same thing about doing business during this pandemic. For Kuizema, some of the effects of the pandemic have been positive, some not.
On the positive side, he has seen “probably more hobbyist musicians over the last year, as a lot of people have been staying home and they want to pick up an instrument because they haven't had time to in the past but are looking to do it now.”
Not so positive: “Inventory availability is the biggest thing I've seen change. That is the biggest issue. We've got a lot of orders out there. And we just wait and wait sometimes months before inventory comes in.”
Even as Kuizema speaks, a shipment arrives. “Hey, something's coming. Inventory!”
Even so, he’s surrounded by assembled drum sets, hanging guitars, and stacked amplifiers. The inventory he has is being bought by both amateurs and professionals. He says ukuleles are probably his top seller, “because it's a pretty easy instrument to pick up, and they're super affordable.”
For old or broken instruments, the experienced staff can handle repairs.
If you don’t know how to play or want to brush up on skills, RIT Music offers lessons for guitar, drums, piano, bass, and, yes, ukuleles.
For recording a home, which has become more of a thing these pandemic days, RIT has audio interfaces.
Kuizema believes there’s a tactile aspect to shopping for ways to make music. “Especially with music gear, it's good to be able to see what you're getting. Feel a guitar, play the drums, know what it is you're purchasing.”
There is something Kuizema misses. Touring bands used to stop in for items they need or just to scope out the local music shop.
“We haven't seen any of that, but it'll happen again,” he says, hopeful.