Bang & Olufsen closed on 14th Street in Logan

Bang & Olufsen
1604 14th Street, NW just north of Q Street

“Dear PoPville,

When I walked by last night, it looked to me like Bank and Olufsen is closing on 14th street. The windows were partially papered over and the space was in disarray from what I could see.”

Sad news for audiophiles. I spoke to the owner who confirmed the closure. Apparently it’s related to this reuters report:

“Danish television and sound system maker Bang & Olufsen would consider any bid approach from a larger rival as it seeks a response to problems that caused a profit warning last month, its chairman said.”

Basically any US independent stores that carried a balance had to pay up immediately or have their dealer license revoked. That is what happened here. For current clients the owner notes:

“we have been in touch with all of our clients who we have open projects with us and they are being completed currently or are being handled by the Tysons Corner store, which is a corporate store. I don’t want to give the appearance that we are disappearing and abandoning our clients. We are all dedicated to see this to a dignified end. In fact, not one employee has jumped ship. We are still dedicated as we put this to bed.”

Audiophile or not, this is very sad news for the retail diversity of Logan. And sadder still is the fact that the people that worked here sound like really nice folks. Wishing them a quick recovery during these tough times. Bang & Olufsen opened up in Logan back in 2008.

16 Comment

  • I guess fewer people are buying the stuff they sell. Especially with the proliferation of hi-fi equipment available these days that approaches audiophile quality, at a small fraction of the price.

  • B&O is not generally considered audiophile quality and will occasionally provoke sneers and derisive laughter when mentioned around audiophile types. They’re more known for their design than their sound. Nonetheless, they are “high end” and high-end audio equipment shops are an endangered species (remember Myer-Emco?) as everyone goes to low-quality MP3 formats, ear buds and those little speakers you just plug your phone into. If you want to serious system around here, you have to venture out to Tyson’s and Evolution Audio.
    A damn shame, if you ask me.

    • Well I don’t think low end speaker systems are stealing market share from B&O — the customer base is just not the same — but the economic crisis had a huge impact, especially in Europe where so many of the countries are going through austerity measures. Here in the U.S., sales have been suffering which has caused a lot of supply chain issues and increased costs. My guess is more likely that less expensive high end equipment from Sony, Samsung and the like was stealing market share, rather than low end equipment.

      • My suspicion — based entirely on my own observations, so take the grains of salt as need be — is that good audio equipment is no longer the status symbol/lifestyle necessity that it once was. People are simply spending their disposable income on thousand dollar bicycles, expensive kitchen gear and other “luxuries” and deciding that an inexpensive sound system works well enough for what they want, so that the whole market is shrinking. I also wonder (again, thinking out loud) if B&O suffers from interior design fashion changes. Doesn’t seem that having a zippy stereo in your living room is “in” any more — you never seem to see them in the real estate photos Pop shows. Given B&O’s emphasis on design maybe that chips into their market share as people focus on “unobtrusive” instead of “stylish” in their home decor.

  • The Bethesda location also just closed about a month ago.

  • Blithe

    Graffiti Audio is still around! 🙂 Even if they’ve now moved to the basement level of the store.

  • YES! More room for small plate or “modern Italian” food on 14th!

  • Friend of a friend owned the store. It’s always been a struggle, sadly.

  • The only time I tried to go into this store the door was locked. It was 3:00pm and there were multiple employees just standing around with no customers in sight. I assumed the store was closed so I started walking away. An employee came running out trying to get me to come in. It was just their policy to leave the doors locked until they saw people struggling to get in… Then if they thought the person looked like they could afford B&O products the employee would run over and unlock the door. I thought that was obnoxious and I refused to come in and I never went back.

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