The retail electronics and by association, musical instruments world is a vastly different place today from that which I entered in 1961 as a Radio&TV servicing apprentice.
It is common to blame t'infernalnet but in truth the rot started long before that. The problem was/is Joe Pub' wants cheap and, although he won't pay for it, he also expects service.
The family business I started with had 2 qualified bench engineers and 3 part qualified field service techs. The workshop was "adequately" large but could get a bit stuffed when busy especially as this was the era of radiograms and tellies got steadily bigger! So they moved the w/s to far larger premises about 1/2mile away on a new industrial estate, profits were such that they could also take on an extra bench engineer and a fulltime car radio fitter (they won the Pye franchize for the county) . At its height the firm had 3 shops in the town and this very nice service dept, even the event of the rental giants did not faze them but deregulation and the "pile 'em high" wharehouses did, all gone now.
In my opinion the long term outlook for high street retailing is pretty grim; in many town centres we are already seeing boarded up retail units (although despite this there seem to be retail "parks" springing up left right and centre......).
The situation is not helped by council and landlords who see any business as a cash cow. For example, many retail leases are on upward only rent reviews. Furthermore, once a business is established at a certain location the landlord and council often have them over a barrel.
Obviously the internet has accelerated this by further eroding retail margins, but the as eluded above, essentially most people want cheap.
I've seen many customers who seem to think that it is morally wrong for a shop to make a profit from selling something!
So the pile it high sell it cheap merchants, who often work on tiny margins, are dominating the market, making it increasingly hard to compete as an independent retailer.
Music shops are actually unusual as they are predominantly independent; there have been several attempts to set up country wide music chains to no avail, Sound Control being the latest failure.
The pile-high/sell-cheap type shops are actually in even worse trouble than the little independents when the brown stuff hits the rotary cooler. They rely on high turnover to make an effective profit from a tiny margin - if the turnover falls, they're stuffed. The little guys have much lower turnover in the first place and rely on high margins... and even in a recession, the small number of buyers who are well-off enough not to be particularly price-concious will still be buying, so those sales will still happen. This is especially true of second-hand high-end and vintage. If you add in repairs, small shops can often survive where big ones fail.
Just don't expect them to stock a range of Gibsons or whatever. In the end, I suspect the manufacturers may have to change their policies on stocking to reflect the reality of the shops that are left. Either that, or the market for new gear will move almost exclusively online. I wouldn't really want that to happen, but if it does then blame the manufacturers not the shops - there is no reason any company *needs* to have a minimum order size.