Guitar Center, a musical instrument and pro audio equipment and technology retailer, opened its new San Francisco superstore on October 21. The grand opening event featured performances by artists including Rolling Stones tribute band URS as well as appearances by local music industry notables. The new store occupies 22,000 square feet, features two levels and is located in downtown San Francisco. This is the fourth location for Guitar Center in San Francisco since the original was established in 1972. Guitar Center now has 135 store locations throughout the U.S.
“This is the most exciting music store on the planet,” says Jason Williamson, general manager of the new sales facility. “There are separate sections for every type of musical instrument, including a separate vintage guitar area. This is not simply a music store—it’s a shopping experience.”
That experience incorporates guitar displays subdivided into specific categories, including electric, high-end acoustic, classical and vintage guitars, as well as the area’s most comprehensive selection of recording, sound reinforcement, DJ and lighting gear, a separate floor for drums and percussion products and a vast array of accessories including a book department that will fulfill every musician’s needs.
The entire backline of Bay Area legends Metallica will be part of a permanent display in the store. “We understand that each musical category requires its own type of space,” Williamson explains. “This store provides what every musician could want, and at the same time is a visual treat. It’s a Disneyland for musicians.”
The store design team was led by Guitar Center vice president Mark Nelson, and Mike Margolis, Guitar Center’s director of facilities. “What we’ve done here is raise the bar for MI retail design in terms of layout and graphics, evoking San Francisco’s musical heritage while keeping the sales areas sleek and accommodating,” Margolis notes. For instance, the entrance to the keyboard section is a recreation of the foyer of the legendary Fillmore West Auditorium. The grills of Marshall amplifiers create a 3-dimensional wall treatment behind the guitar sales section. Actual vintage posters from San Francisco’s “Summer of Love” era line the walls. Yet the store is quite modern in feel: black carpets against blonde wood floors give it a European touch, and metal halide lighting fixtures in key display areas, complementing the instruments that hang in display. “This design ties together the gear and the lifestyle,” remarks Margolis. “Customers here really will feel like they’re onstage.”
For more information, please go to the company’s Website at www.guitarcenter.com.