1865 At the end of the Civil War Phillip M. Griggs and his bride Anna opened a small general store in Madison, Georgia. Among other things, their retail store carried sewing machines and pump organs. Pump organs were an early form of musical entertainment for the home, however their popularity was not widespread.
1880 Economic conditions in Georgia were poor with the South undergoing reconstruction after its defeat in the Civil War. Phillip, Anna and their four sons, Arthur P. being the eldest, moved to Kewanee, Illinois where they added a piano line to their store. After holding a variety of retail sales positions and a year at the University of Wisconsin Arthur P. returned to Kewanee and joined the business with his father.
1890 As the pianos popularity grew, so did business for Griggs. Arthur P. Griggs had earned a reputation with a number of piano manufacturers as an honest, hardworking, successful salesman.
1903 At the age of 28, Arthur P. Griggs moved to Davenport, Iowa, where the larger population of the Quad-Cities offered more opportunity. He opened Griggs Music House in downtown Davenport with the assistance of various piano manufacturers who were willing to finance his inventory.
1920 The roaring 20s were a period characterized by strong growth and increased diversity. Arthur, now with a wife of 15 years and five children, expanded the business to include pianos, band and orchestra instruments, phonographs, sheet music and records. Physical space had become a constraint. The business was relocated to a larger facility in downtown Davenport and incorporated under the name of Arthur P. Griggs Piano Co. With the advent of the automobile, commuting was made easier and Arthur opened branch stores in Moline and Peoria, Illinois, Muscatine, Clinton, and Des Moines, Iowa.
1925 Multiple locations became difficult to manage and capital constraints prohibited Arthur from stocking a full compliment of inventory at each location. Arthur decided to close all of the branch stores and focus on the Davenport location which now carried private label pianos under the name of Arthur P. Griggs and private label phonographs under the name of Platt.
1929 The Great Depression and stock market crash caused music stores all over the country to search for products to increase their sales. Electric refrigerators were new and many music stores throughout the country decided that could be the product. Griggs Piano Co. took on the Ice-O-Matic brand, made in Bloomington, IL and later, Servel, as well as Pethex movie cameras and projectors. The music industry was particularly hard hit by the depression, causing dozens of piano manufacturers to go out of business. Through a liquidator, Mr. Griggs disposed of his entire inventory except band instruments and moved to a very small location, where he mostly collected contract accounts due to him. During that period Arthur W. Griggs, the eldest child, began making dance floor wax as a sideline business.
1936 Business began to improve and pianos were again added to the inventory along with the Everett line of church organs, small radios and the Magnavox phonograph. Magnavox grew and as new models were introduced, they became an important line for the company.
1941 During World War II inventory was again liquidated as piano manufacturing plants were mobilized and new products were not available. Arthur P. Griggs Piano Co. survived by repairing and selling used upright pianos.
1945 Following World War II and the return of Arthur W. from the service, manufacturing increased and the Company’s again faced with the need to expand. Arthur W. and his sister Charlotte formed the 320 Harrison Corp to purchase and remodel three buildings in Downtown Davenport.
1951 As the result of a stroke, Arthur P. Griggs was forced to retire. Arthur W. and Charlotte Griggs led the Company into its next expansion which included Zenith and Sony transistor radios, home organs, and the Allen Organ department.
1962 Stereo components were becoming popular. Arthur P. Griggs Piano Co. added H.H. Scott electronics, Bozak speakers, Fairchild turntables and Tandberg tape reorders to their departments to become the first audio component dealer in Davenport.
1963 Jim Partridge married Marjorie, Arthur P. Griggs’ youngest daughter. Jim was the choral director at Moline High School and had formerly been a band director in Pekin, Illinois.
1966 Arthur and Charlotte believed that additional opportunity existed in the Band and Orchestra market and asked Jim Partridge to join the company to develop that department. The Company had been selling band instruments locally but didn’t have the best lines and the department was small. Jim began calling on area schools and as sales improved better lines were added to the department.
1968 With consistent growth in the band department, more space and a better organized store was needed. Remodeling was considered however parking constraints and the general decline of the neighborhood surroundings made this strategy impractical. Downtown Davenport was still the main shopping area and several sights were considered.
1970 Arthur and Charlotte learned of a building at the corner of Brady and Kimberly, on Davenport’s north side that was going to become available. After careful consideration and a feasibility study, they acquired and remodeled the building which serves as the Company’s present location. Concurrent with the move the Company’s name was changed to Griggs Music, Inc. a more appropriate name for the full line music store it had become.
1973 Northpark Mall was constructed two blocks west of Griggs Music. Many other business establishments opened in the area and Downtown Davenport went into a decline.
1980 Charlotte Griggs retired after years of successful service and leadership to the Company.
1986 Arthur Griggs retired and Jim Partridge became sole stockholder.
1998 Jim Partridge retired and long-time employees Steve Judge, Doug Davis, and Carolyn Tittsworth assumed the role of ownership.
2000 A branch store was opened in Washington Iowa to serve the school markets in southeastern Iowa.
2003 Griggs Music celebrates its 100 year of business.