Sam Ash music closing nearly half of stores nationwide, including two in NYC

They’ve been a staple in New York City—and around the country—but now Sam Ash Music is drastically downsizing its physical store footprint.

The company says it will be closing 18 of its 45 stores, including two of its three city locations: 34th Street in Midtown and Forest Hills, Queens.

In a statement, a company spokesperson said in part: "Sam Ash Music remains committed to keeping a strong physical store footprint in the future while we continue growing our successful online sales offerings."

"As part of this restructuring, the company is closing several stores nationwide. This restructuring is emotionally tough, but we are confident these moves will make Sam Ash Music stronger as we continue serving the music community into the future, as we have for the past 100 years."

"No!" shouted buskers Buddy and Jon Luc as they approached the 34th street location and saw red and yellow "going out of business" sale signs in the window.

"This is our favorite spot to go to," Buddy said. "Like—I’m freaking out… They were the ones that really helped me out because I actually bought this violin from here."

"Like this is where I get all my strings, my bow, my cello, my bridge, my everything," added Jon Luc.

"I literally started crying," drummer Tendell Bird said. "You don't know how they helped me out a lot."

"It's always cool being able to go into a music shop," said Jed Fronfeld. "There's not a whole lot that are left in in the city that are like this."

Rudy Pensa founded Rudy’s Music in 1978. He still has locations in Soho and Scarsdale. He says there are two "really dangerous" threats facing physical music stores.

"[It’s the] combination of high rent and the online business," Pensa said.

Pensa says younger generations are buying everything— instruments included— online. But, he adds, they’re missing the physical connection—the magic—that can happen between a musician and an instrument.

"They think it's totally normal. And they miss the absolute connection that you can have when you see the instruments in front of you."

Sam Ash has not said when the last day for the New York locations will be, but employees at the 34th street spot estimated it would be within the next two months.