Gorby’s Music was founded in 1946 as a single proprietorship by Mr. Charles H. Gorby. The location was a one room second floor office at 236 1/2 7th Ave. in South Charleston, WV. Prior to opening his store, Mr. Gorby had been a teacher at South Charleston High School from 1932 to 1938. While at the high school he organized and directed the South Charleston High School band.
Mr. Gorby left teaching to serve as an educational representative for the H. N. White company (now King Musical Instruments). This position lasted until May 30, 1942 when the production of band instruments was frozen or stopped by the government so that these facilities could be converted for the needed production of war goods. During World War II, Mr. Gorby served in the U. S. Navy. After his discharge he renewed his association with the H. N. White Company through his new business.
On April 1, 1947, the business was incorporated as Gorby’s Music House, Inc. Charles Gorby, Mary E. Gorby, and Robert E. Witschey (the store’s accountant at that time) were the stockholders and members of the Board of Directors. Within two years, the store grew from the one-room occupancy to five rooms. Then, in the latter part of 1949, the location was moved to rented facilities on the ground floor of a building at the corner of 7th Avenue and E Streets in South Charleston, only a half block distant. While the entire business had been band instruments, the new facility offered additional space and the store was expanded to include pianos, records, record players, and teaching studios.
In 1955 a new two-story building with parking lot was erected at 214 7th Avenue, again in the same block as the earlier location. It was felt by the owners that this facility would suffice for the entire future of the store. However, by 1966 additional growth required even larger facilities. At that, internal space was more than doubled and a front of 87 1/2 feet was erected. The new structure included expanded repair facilities, 14 teaching studios, a large classroom, and selling areas for sheet music, combo, band instruments, and keyboards. Part of an old stock room was converted into a museum for old instruments. Improved shipping and receiving areas were added along with an expanded office and new garage.