When It All Began...
The Early Years: 1927 - 1962
Our story begins in the early 1910s with Clara Tarpley. Clara was a piano teacher in Wellington, TX that wanted a way to further share her passion for music with her local communities in the Texas Panhandle. She began selling pianos out of a hardware store in Shamrock, TX and made her very first piano sale in 1917. Clara dedicated her life to making music accessible to all, recognizing the power it has to unite and enrich communities.
During the 1920s: Pampa, TX was booming from oil production and Mrs. Tarpley decided that Pampa was the place to be. So in 1927 she moved her business into downtown Pampa and established Tarpley Music Company. She created a store that offered instruments, printed music, and more - all of which helped to support the flourishing music scene in Pampa.
Clara was a highly respected business woman who survived her business through the Great Depression and was actively involved in all aspects of her business, which included making piano deliveries. Ironically, her untimely death was the result of a traffic accident following a piano delivery in 1954.
Clara's son, Louis, was already involved in the business and took over the full-time management following the death of his mother. Louis was an outstanding businessman and continued the growth of the company. During Louis’ ownership, we were selling everything from televisions, antennas, appliances, and of course musical instruments. He ran the business for many years, introducing innovation and the latest technology products. This set the stage for our company's ongoing commitment to providing musical gear that was reliable, well designed, and of course, highly sought after. And in 1962, Louis passed away.
The Brothers: 1962 - 1991
Louis' two sons, Bill and Glenn "Buz" took over the management of the music business at that time, which started a completely new era for Tarpley Music. Bill and Buz continued to expand the business by adding stereo equipment, guitars, and other "hot" products of the time. They sold many of the original products from Fender, Gibson, Martin, and Hammond Organs. The Tarpley Music legacy of quality and professionalism grew as their music product selection broadened, with Bill and Buz striving to offer only the best in sound equipment, instruments, and accessories.
The brothers being very successful in Pampa decided to open a store in nearby Perryton, TX which they kept open until 1964 when they had the opportunity to purchase Jenkins Music in Amarillo, Texas. Two years later in 1966, Tolzien Music approached Tarpley Music to buy their store in Amarillo, which we did. Tarpley Music continued to expand and strengthen its business operations.
In 1984: Bill's son, David, joined the company full-time. And then in 1986 the company opened a store in Lubbock, TX after purchasing the Electric Ear, which David took over the management of. In 1989: Buz's son, John, joined the company full-time and took over the management of the Pampa, TX location.
Also in 1991, the company expanded to a fourth location in Clovis, New Mexico.
The Cousins: 1991 - Present
During the 1990s, David and John assumed the management of the company. In 1991, David & Casey McGrew created a complete professional sound and video installation division, Tarpley Media, that headquarters in the Lubbock location. In 1995, a central warehouse and office complex was built in Amarillo, TX. David and John both moved to Amarillo to manage the company from there. In 1998, they added the fifth Tarpley location in Wichita Falls, Texas, which was in operation until mid-2007. In 2006, a new location was added in San Angelo, Texas.
In 2023 we're celebrating 96 Years of being in business. 96 Years! While we're just 4 years away from 100, we feel that it's worth celebrating each year you get on this earth to share in your passion for music. We couldn't have made it this far without the support of our communities in both Texas & New Mexico. It is this high level of support throughout the years that has enabled us to continue supporting those who live, work and love music. We thank you for the continuous support and are excited to continue helping you pursue your passions and interests.
We're thankful that we have been given the opportunities to go from a small-town Texas Panhandle shop to now one of largest and the oldest single-family owned independent musical instrument retail company in Texas & New Mexico. Our commitment to excellence and innovation in the music industry has been recognized by players and industry professionals alike. Our History provide us with deep knowledge and experience that we can bring to our customers every day.