The History of Brook Mays Music Company
The Leader In Band Instrument Sales, Rental, and Service
Brook Mays Music
Dallas was in the era of the player piano and Sunday afternoon concerts when Mr. Brook Mays founded Brook Mays Music by purchasing the Will A. Watkin Music Company in August 1901. From the patriotic fervor of George M. Cohan and John Philip Sousa to the bad bands of Dorsey, Glen Miller, and Harry James, right down to today’s amplified guitars and digitized rock’n’roll, for almost a century, Brook Mays has been helping to create beautiful music throughout Texas.
Brook Mays, the man who founded the company that bears his name was a transplanted Tennessean who ran it for nearly 40 years. Mr. Mays was no musician himself, but as a shrewd businessman, he saw a need for a first-class piano store in Dallas. That was exactly what he established when he opened the original store in a building at 401 Main Street across from the post office. The company dealt exclusively in pianos at the time and became the largest dealership of its kind in the entire region. It is the only music company in the Southwest today that survived the Great Depression of the 1930’s.
Mr. Mays, upon his death, left the company to his employees. At that time the Houston employees purchased the use of the Brook Mays name from the Dallas employees and established a separate company, the Brook Mays Piano Company of Houston.
In the 1940’s Brook Mays Music began to expand its merchandise lines to include organs, print music, and band and orchestra instruments. Soon after World War II, the downtown store was extensively remodeled and moved to a 3-story building at 1005 Elm Street. The accompanying growth spurt, which extended through the early fifties, included the development of the band instrument division, which was destined to become the largest retail supplier of band and orchestra instruments to school groups in the Southwest. Much of the growth was attributable to the phenomenal expansion of school band and orchestra programs at the time. Brook Mays is proud to continue as an active partner in what has become one of the most impressive music education areas in our nation.
In the 1950’s the Everitt family became involved in Brook Mays Music. Bill Everitt, Sr., a Dallas area band director, was also working in the band and orchestra department of the company. Along with a partner, he soon acquired that division. Several years later the piano department became available and Everitt, along with the same partner, bought the remainder of the business. When Bill Everitt, Jr. entered the business in 1968, the Everitt’s bought out the partner and took over the entire company.
Having seen the arrival of Elvis, the Beatles, and rock’n’roll, the sixties brought about an entirely new demand for musical instruments. Electric guitars, amplifiers, and drums were now included in Brook Mays’ extensive inventory. The musical trends of the
seventies and eighties introduced high-end electronics, including keyboards, synthesizers, and drum machines.
The nineties saw an overall increase in our commitment to excellence and community service. In the early years of the new century, the Company had grown to have 62 stores in 13 states. In 2003, the Company took an openly public stand against inexpensive and low quality instruments being made in China and sold in big box stores. The Company expressed that these low quality instruments had a negative impact on a quality instrumental music education for students. After a difficult period and the loss of a $16 million dollar lawsuit, the Company was forced into bankruptcy and the assets were sold to the highest bidder. The Company went through a four month period of liquidation in which the liquidators closed all stores and collected all revenues.
A new company was formed in October 2006 by William (Bill) S. Everitt (prior CEO of the old Company). He purchased the names of the old company and has started over again as a school music specialty company. The first goal was to provide repair and maintenance service to the rental customers of the old company. A repair network covering 13 states was established and customer services to the rental customers was re-established. The new company started with three store locations in Houston under the H&H name and two store locations in Dallas under the Brook Mays name. The core of the new company was about 50 loyal and dedicated employees from the old company with an average age of 50 and an average of 25 years experience in the music business. .
H & H Music
Clint Hackney, Sr. and his brother-in-law Maurice Halbert founded H&H Music. Both were band directors. It was named H&H Music because these two owners were its only employees. The first store opened on December 8, 1945, in an 8’ X 16’ building at 1309 Main Street, Houston, Texas as a band and accessories store. After one year the store moved into a 20’ X 50’ building at 1717 Main Street and they added a third employee.
In 1950, the company moved to a 50’ X 100’ building, added a piano department, a full sheet music department, and a repair service center. In 1955 the company moved to the current downtown location at 1211 Caroline Street and added a full guitar and drum department.
By 1961 the company had grown to three stores and by 1968 to five stores. Further expansion happened in 1969 when Brockstein Music and Carter Music were purchased, bringing the company to seven stores.
The 1970’s proved to be a period of consolidation for H&H Music and a transition period for the retail music products companies in Houston as old businesses went out and new businesses were started. In December of 1982, H&H Music was purchased by the owners of Brook Mays Music of Dallas. It was agreed at that time that although all stores function as one company, using the same business philosophy and systems, the Brook Mays name would be used in Austin and northward, and the H&H name would be used south of Austin.
"Brook Mays means music."