Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Guitar Center Professional 10th Anniversary

GC Pro Director Rick Plushner at Los Angeles’ Record One Studios.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA, June 27, 2011 — Throughout 2011, Guitar Center Professional (GC Pro), the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users, will commemorate 10 years of operation, during which the company has changed the way audio professionals can access equipment sales and service. It has been a decade where the requirements for sound were vastly increased and broadened, as venues such as houses of worship and schools that previously hadn’t paid critical attention to their audio needs began to address issues ranging from P.A. intelligibility to large-space acoustics. The music industry has exploded into a universe of personal and project recording studios that range from large conventional facilities to laptop-based home spaces. The ability to make music, edit audio and take quality live sound into spaces that had never benefited from it became a national phenomenon that needed a comprehensive and consistent solution when it came to technology sales, service and advice. GC Pro was there to provide that solution.

“Ten years ago, Guitar Center made the decision to create a division that could address the business-to-business aspects of the audio industry primarily,” explains GC Pro Director, Rick Plushner. “The division is organized to reach out to communities and address various markets such as recording studios, post-production facilities, house-of-worship accounts, live sound venues, schools for the teaching of the recording arts, and other business-to-business entities, [including] restaurants, clubs and other things like that. P.K. Pandey, a long-time employee of Guitar Center who helped launch our early pro audio sales efforts, actually coined the phrase ‘GC Pro’ – he was calling himself a GC professional and it was the first time it was utilized. P.K. is still with the company today as a Senior Account Manager working out of our Boston location, which says a lot about the dedication of GC Pro associates. Tom Menrath was then hired to pull this idea together within the GC organization, and working with Marek Stycos, gathered the top audio sales professionals in the company to form the original team. I joined in 2005 and took over as Director in January 2008.”

GC Pro’s original home page (ca. 2001, left), and the current site (2011, right).

Plushner points out that before GC Pro became a reality, the then-highly localized pro audio retail sector was moving towards an online paradigm, which offered wider access to more equipment to more users, but left them disconnected from the personalized service necessary when purchasing, using and integrating expensive and complex technology. “In the age of the Internet, you can go to a website, buy a product and have it shipped to you. GC Pro utilizes all the resources of Guitar Center including web based purchasing but that’s were our services begin – we also provide the ability to have a local person in your area that you can visit, converse with and come out to your facility providing onsite consultation. We can bring you demo gear to try out, providing services only done in person,” Plushner explains. “We’re a boutique style operation networked across the country, utilizing the full power of Guitar Center’s infrastructure and reach.”

From a core of less then two dozen GC Pro associates who formed the division’s first few offices, GC Pro grew into a 42-city operation with a staff of 75, three full-time regional business development sales managers and a strong support staff based in GC Pro’s Westlake Village, California headquarters, along with access to nearly every high-end product available for the pro audio industry, as well as full service and support for all the gear they sell. In the process, GC Pro has become deeply intertwined with the pro audio community in the U.S., regularly participating in events and trade shows with the Audio Engineering Society (AES), Consumer Electronics Show (CES), InfoComm, National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) and The Recording Academy® chapters in various cities nationwide. GC Pro is also a partner with pro audio schools and programs, having formed ongoing relationships with over 30 educational facilities that have come to rely on GC Pro for sales, support and educational pricing for their students. In recent years, GC Pro has strengthened its brand via the newly designed website and now offers regular sweepstakes and generates public relations articles monthly featuring their clients. GC Pro has also started an affiliate program that allows customers to access the talents and skills of certified acoustical designers, acoustical architects, systems integration companies and other technical services organizations nationwide. Most recently, GC Pro has expanded its technical support at its New York City and Hollywood, California locations to feature in-house design and integration of customized computer-based recording systems, including components from Avid and Apple, integrating software and hardware to create turnkey recording systems that can be delivered ready to run anywhere in the U.S. Plushner says the continued expansion of locations, services and technology constitutes the best way to celebrate GC Pro’s first decade. “That’s because,” he says, “It’s always been – and will always be – about serving the customer.”


About Guitar Center Professional/Guitar Center
Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, Guitar Center Professional is the outside sales division of Guitar Center that focuses on the needs of professional users. Its clientele includes recording studios, audio engineers, producers, recording and touring musicians, live sound venues, post production facilities and more. Emphasizing extraordinary individualized service via local account managers, GC Pro offers expert consultation and a comprehensive selection of the world’s finest equipment for music and audio professionals. More information on GC Pro can be found by visiting www.gcpro.com.

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