Breakfast of Champions (The 2018 NAMM Show): AIMM Founders

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Alliance of Independent Music Merchants (AIMM). At “Breakfast of Champions” during The 2018 NAMM Show, NAMM President and CEO Joe Lamond sat down with AIMM founders Skip Maggiora, George Hines and Bob Bankston to discuss this landmark anniversary for the industry marketing and sharing group—and to find out its secret to longevity. (Watch the video to see the full interview.)

Bankston commented that “there was a need” in the industry for a group like AIMM in 1998, with consumers becoming more demanding. He stressed that as an entrepreneur, you often feel alone; in a group like AIMM, you don’t.

“When we started [in business], the industry was really controlled, if you will, by manufacturing, suppliers,” Hines said. “They had franchise agreements, geography—you name it. It kept that way until the ’90s. Then it shifted to these chain stores that started very quickly expanding. But we saw with the internet that that was short-lived. We knew the consumers would be the ultimate power. And we think it will be that way now going forward.”

Maggiora added: “And as soon as you got to trust somebody and you started having conversations, you started recognizing, ‘Geeze, I’m learning. I’m taking stuff back to my own business because I’m sharing with this other very smart dealer that I’ve come to respect.’”

“No matter what one retailer wants to undertake, chances are another retailer in the group has already been there or is in the the process,” Bankston said.

“So you don’t have to start from scratch. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”