You ask all the mom and pop stores you go to how they're doing? There are hardly any "mom and pop" music stores even left where I live. I don't see how they could be having record years given most places were forced to close and the limits on customers allowed in stores etc and even getting product was probably hard for a while given how everything was shut down. I bike for example and there was a period where you couldn't find any bikes or biking equipment because the supply had been cut off. Online sales are a different story but actual physical mom and pop stores doing great? I find that hard to believe. Back to GC, I worked very briefly for Guitar Center's DC in Brownsburg Indiana and I was shocked at how they treat equipment. They send Gibsons and Fenders down a conveyor system the same as any other guitar. After seeing how the equipment is handled, conveyors, falling off the line, getting in jams, thrown (often literally) into a truck that sits for days in the blazing heat and freezing cold before being shipped, etc I wonder how many "QC" issues are actually the result of how the equipment is handled and shipped. I hate shopping at GC, their staff is often lazy and rude. I try my best not to go there but sometimes if I need something right away I don't have much choice. But their staff is often lazy and rude. I took my Les Paul there about 5 years ago to have it set up and partially refretted.....they had the guitar for 2 months and literally didn't even start working on it. I finally got fed up after 2 months of waiting and when I went to the store I got into an argument with the kid behind the counter. I told him they should tell customers about the incredible wait time for service and he told me they did. I replied that they most certainly didn't tell me they would have my guitar 2 months before even starting on it. We went back and forth but their service just sucks and has made me actively avoid their stores (there are 2 GC within a half hour from my home). I never buy anything online from GC.