In May, Gibson notified the retailer of its intention to drop Milwaukee's Finest as an authorised dealer. A lawyer representing the store alleged that by doing so, Gibson violated Wisconsin's fair dealership law and subsequently filed a lawsuit asking for a temporary restraining order to allow the store to continue selling the guitars.
Gibsons had accounted for 70 per cent of sales at the store, which includes a repair shop and has 200 students taking lessons. According to court records, the shop had invested more than US$353,000 in Gibson since it opened in 2006. A letter filed by Gibson alleged that the business "didn't live up to its contract," which Milwaukee's Finest Guitars denied. In an affidavit, the dealership said the Gibson products were critical to the store's success, and reportedly even sent the company a photo of the employees who would lose their jobs if it were not an authorised Gibson dealer.
"To say that these tactics have been unpleasant would be an understatement," wrote a Gibson representative in another letter filed in court. "To believe that they would change the longstanding policies in place at Gibson would be a fantasy."