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— Gala opening on October 21 marked new location and new commitment for Guitar Center in San Francisco, where it has had an uninterrupted presence since 1972 —

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, October 21, 2004 — Guitar Center, the world’s largest musical instrument and pro audio equipment and technology retailer, opened its new San Francisco superstore on October 21. The event, which featured performances by artists including acclaimed Rolling Stones tribute band URS and appearances by local music legends, underscored Guitar Center’s commitment to carrying on its 32-year history as an integral part of the city’s music culture. The lavish new store occupies 22,000 square feet spread over two levels in the heart of the City at 1645 Van Ness Ave., and 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.

The Guitar Center San Francisco superstore is on the cutting edge of retail design. “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 new facility also features the stuff of local heroes: 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 three-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 make the instruments’ colors and finishes “pop” visually. “This design ties together the gear and the lifestyle,” remarks Margolis. “Customers here really will feel like they’re onstage.”

The grand opening festivities for Guitar Center’s new San Francisco superstore were on scale with its stature. A performance by URS, the world’s greatest Rolling Stones tribute band, and an appearance by Jerry Only from the Misfits, were complemented by t-shirt giveaways from local radio station KITS, and a $100,000 Lucky lineup grand prize, in which 10 randomly chosen participants attempted to match a series of guitar icons to those in a sealed envelope. Nicole Barker, Guitar Center’s Western Regional Promotions Coordinator, remarks, “This was a larger event than we usually put on. It was a grand opening and a grand re-opening to show how much we appreciate the loyal following that Guitar Center has developed in San Francisco since 1972.”

Photo File: SF_STORE.JPG
Photo Caption: Pictured is the storefront of Guitar Center San Francisco’s new superstore location at 1645 Van Ness Ave.

Photo Caption: Guitar Center San Francisco’s new store location features a recreation of the foyer of the legendary Fillmore West Auditorium as the entrance to its keyboard section.

Photo Caption: Pictured is the guitar section of Guitar Center San Francisco’s new location at 1645 Van Ness Ave.

Photo File: DRUMS.JPG
Photo Caption: Pictured is the drum department on the second floor of Guitar Center
San Francisco’s new location at 1645 Van Ness Ave.

Photo File: MISFIT.JPG
Photo Caption: Pictured is Jerry Only of the Misfits, during his appearance at the grand re-opening of Guitar Center’s San Francisco store in its new location, 1645 Van Ness Ave.

…ends 573 words

About Guitar Center
Guitar Center is the nation's leading retailer of guitars, amplifiers, percussion instruments, keyboards and pro-audio and recording equipment. We presently operate 135 Guitar Center stores, with 112 stores in 46 major markets and 23 stores in secondary markets across the U.S. In addition, the American Music division operates 20 family music stores specializing in band instruments for sale and rental, serving thousands of teachers, band directors, college professors and students. Guitar Center is also the largest direct response retailer of musical instruments in the U.S. through our wholly owned subsidiary, Musician's Friend, Inc., and its catalog and web site, www.musiciansfriend.com. More information on Guitar Center can be found by visiting the Company's web site at www.guitarcenter.com.

The Guitar Center logo is a registered trademark of Guitar Center, Inc. Other brand or product names may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

For further information on Guitar Center San Francisco, please contact Nicole Barker at
(818) 735-8800 ext. 2432.


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