When It All Began...
1927 - 1962 (The Early Years)
Clara Tarpley was a piano teacher in Wellington, TX, who began selling pianos out of a hardware store in Shamrock, TX during the 1920s. In 1927, Mrs. Tarpley moved the business into downtown Pampa and established Tarpley Music Company. Clara was actively involved in all aspects of the business, including deliveries.
Ironically her untimely death was the result of a traffic accident following a delivery in 1954. Her son Louis took over the full-time management of the business. Louis was an outstanding businessman and continued the growth of the company. During Louis’ ownership of the company, we were selling everything from televisions, antennas, appliances, and of course musical instruments. Louis passed away in 1962.
1962 - 1991 (The Brothers, The Sons)
Louis' sons, Bill and Glenn "Buz", took over the management at that time, which started a new era for Tarpley Music. They 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 brothers being very successful in Pampa decided to open a store in nearby Perryton, Texas, which they kept until 1964, when they had an opportunity to purchase Jenkins Music in Amarillo, Texas. Then in 1966 the Tolzien family approached them to buy their store in Amarillo, which they did.
In 1984, Bill's son, David, joined the company full-time. In 1986, the company opened a store in Lubbock after purchasing the Electric Ear, which David took over the management of. In 1989, Buz's son, John, joined the company full-time. John took over the management of the Pampa store in 1991. Also in 1991, the company expanded to a fourth location in Clovis, New Mexico.
1991 - Present
During the 1990's 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.
From a small-own Texas Panhandle shop to Texas' largest and oldest single-family owned independent musical instrument retail chain. We're ecstatic about our company story and heritage, but we're constantly looking forward to the future.