Sam Ash Music

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Sam Ash Music Corp.
IndustryMusical Instruments
Founded1924; 99 years ago (1924)
FounderSam Ash
Number of locations
ProductsMusical instruments, Recording equipment and accessories
Number of employees

Sam Ash Music was founded in 1924, and is the largest family-owned chain of musical instrument stores in the United States, with 44 locations in 16 states.[2][3] With corporate headquarters in Hicksville, New York, Sam Ash sells musical instruments, recording equipment, DJ and lighting equipment, and professional sound.


Early years[edit]

Musician Sam Ash and his wife Rose, whose families had emigrated from Eastern Europe to Brooklyn, New York when they were children, opened what would become the first Sam Ash Music Store in 1924 as a way to transform Sam's work as a violin teacher and gigging musician in the Sam Ash Orchestra into steady income. Over the next ten years Sam and Rose had three children, Jerome (Jerry), Paul, and Marcia, who all took an active role in the family business.

In 1944 the Ash family moved their business to a new Brooklyn location on 236 Utica Avenue, gradually expanding the store's initial offering beyond sheet music, music instrument repairs, and phonographs, and capitalizing on area school music programs by delivering sheet music and stocking a growing selection of band instruments. In the 1950s as rhythm and blues and rock and roll gained popularity, Sam Ash was among the first stores in the area to add guitar brands like Gibson and Fender, as well as a record shop begun under the supervision of 15-year old Paul, which at one point accounted for nearly half the store's overall revenue.[4]

Multi-store growth[edit]

Sam declined his son's requests to expand the original store to additional locations, but in 1961, five years after his death,[5] Paul and Jerry (now company president and chairman, respectively) expanded into Long Island and Westchester County, opening new stores in Hempstead, Huntington and White Plains. By 1990, there were eight Sam Ash Music stores in the New York area, and in 1992 the first Sam Ash Music store outside the New York area opened in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.

West 48th Street's Music Row[edit]

In 1969, the company established a presence in Midtown Manhattan on West 48th Street's Music Row, a location they gradually expanded. By the late 1980s, after acquiring several struggling competitors, Sam Ash Music's presence dominated the block with an amalgamation of six storefronts with 12 entrances in nine buildings on both sides of the street.[6] In 1999, the company acquired 64-year Music Row mainstay Manny's Music, which they continued to operate under the same name and management.[7] In 2012, facing rising rents and redevelopment on Sam Ash Music relocated the flagship 48th street store to a new location at 333 West 34th Street.[8][9]

Third Generation[edit]

Following Paul's death in 2014, management shifted to a third generation of Ash family, Jerry's sons David, Richard, and Sammy.[10] Sam Ash Music remains family-owned, with a fourth generation of family members already employed by the company.[11]


  1. ^ "issue_id":512088,"page":92} "The Top 200: Ranking America's Leading Music Products Retailers: Ranked by Revenue". The Music Trades. 166 (7): 92. August 2018. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  2. ^ "Long Island Music Hall of Fame: Sam Ash". Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Long Island Music Hall of Fame. Retrieved 24 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Retail Spotlights: Sam Ash Music". Retail Merchandiser. Retrieved December 23, 2018.
  4. ^ Martin, Douglas (10 February 2014). "Paul Ash, Who Made Music Store a Chain, Dies at 84". The New York Times Company. The New York Times. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  5. ^ "Sam Ash - Find a Grave". Find a Grave. Retrieved July 17, 2016.
  6. ^ "issue_id":122891,"page":42} "End of an Era". The Music Trades. 160 (8): 42–26. September 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  7. ^ Macfarquharaug, Neil (4 August 1999). "Manny's, Haven for Musicians, Is Sold to a Chain-Store Rival". The New York Times Company. The New York Times. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  8. ^ Ferris, Marc. "Turning down the sound on Times Square's music row". The Real Deal. Korangy Publishing Inc. Retrieved 21 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Saying Farewell to NYC's 'Music Row'". The Music & Sound Retailer. 29 (9). September 2012. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  10. ^ "David Ash: Behind the Music". Long Island Business News. Long Island Business News. Retrieved 26 December 2018.
  11. ^ Wissmuller, Christian (January 2019). "Don Johnson Music Industry Service Award: Jerry and Sammy Ash of Sam Ash Music Corp". MMR Musical Merchandise Review. 178 (1): 44–45.

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