Mississippi Music began when James (Jim) W. Johnson and Bertha (Mac) M. Johnson opened The Music Shop for business on February 5, 1946, at 730 North Main Street in Hattiesburg. That first store was located in the front three rooms of a private dwelling with Jim and Mac living in the back. The store was moved to the corner of Front and Main Streets some two years later. After outgrowing the Main Street location, the Johnsons bought a 13,000 sq. ft. building at 111 East Pine Street and changed the name to Johnson Music Company.
J. W. Johnson and J. W. Clinton opened Laurel Piano Co. in 1956. In 1957, Mr. H. B. Harrington merged his Pascagoula and Laurel stores with Laurel Piano Co. to form Clinton-Harrington Piano Co. In 1960, J. W. Clinton and Robert Fortenberry bought Peavey Melody Music Co. from J. B. Peavey in Meridian. Then, in August 1961, Johnson Music Co., Clinton-Harrington Piano Co., and Peavey Melody Music Co. merged to form Mississippi Music, Inc. MMI bought out Mr. Fortenberry’s interest in 1962.
In 1966, MMI opened Johnson Music Co. store in Picayune with Johnnie M. Lightsey as manager. The name was changed to Mississippi Music in 1973 and the store was located at 117 West Canal St. MMI purchased all the assets of Gleaton Music Company with locations in Biloxi and Gulfport in 1969. In 1970 Carmen Massey stores in Biloxi and Gulfport were purchased. These stores were combined into Mississippi Music stores in the two cities. With the expansion of the Edgewater Mall in 1971, the stores were combined into one location for the Gulf Coast.
The Pascagoula store closed March 31, 1975, because of over saturation of that limited market area. This investment was then moved to Jackson and Mississippi Music opened in the Jackson Mall.
During this year the banks that had been financing the sale of musical instruments could not make a profit on these small balance loans. So in September of 1975, Mississippi Music Acceptance Corp. was chartered to give MMI a reliable source of financing for its sales. Eagle Distributors was also started in 1975. The company saw a need for a regional distributor of musical instruments, accessories and method books and a need for very quick service to the southeastern region as well as the Mississippi Music stores. Eagle also sold its own line of guitars bearing the Eagle name.
At this time the company operated stores in the Jackson Mall, Cloverleaf Mall in Hattiesburg, and the Village Fair Mall in Meridian. These Mall stores proved to be too small and too expensive for a music merchant. In 1979, a new free standing 7,600 sq. ft. store was built on Robinson Road in Jackson and the Jackson Mall store was closed.
In the spring of 1985 a new 11,000 sq. ft. store was constructed on North 39th Avenue in Hattiesburg. The fall of 1986 also saw the completion of a new building at 2415 S. Frontage Road in Meridian and the Village Fair Mall location closed. In July of 1987, the Edgewater Mall location moved to its new location on Pass Road in Biloxi.
Modern highways allowed the company to consolidate the Hattiesburg and Laurel stores and the Biloxi and Picayune stores in 1991. This consolidation allowed a substantial reduction in operating expenses and an increase in selection for our customers.
In July of 2002 the Jackson location moved to a spacious new store at 1001 Sara Lane in Flowood, a growing Jackson area community.
August of 2007 saw the completion of a 5000 sq. ft. addition to our Flowood location which houses our shipping, receiving and repair departments making way for numerous teaching studios in our main wing at 1001 Sara Lane.