This story is from Julie Perine and our media partners at Join Bridgeport.

a group of people playing instruments and performing on a stage: Showtime Music

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Showtime Tunes

BRIDGEPORT, W.Va (WDTV) – Showtime Music has been Harry Gillum’s livelihood for nearly 30 a long time. He cannot picture the quantity of pianos, guitars, drumsticks, sheet tunes that have offered by way of his enterprise.


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But the Bridgeport businessman mentioned it’s not just about the sale.

“It’s the exhilaration they have when they come in and acquire an instrument – not understanding how to perform it,” Gillum explained. “Then they come in later and exhibit you their million-greenback smile, alongside with their new song.”

He remembers his very own infatuation with the world of songs a noteworthy expertise and one which encouraged his longtime career which culminated with the possession of two shops one particular at the Meadowbrook Shopping mall.

Rising up in Beckley, he began enjoying guitar at a young age and went to perform at the area new music retail store at age 15.

“After graduation, I resolved to stay in the music organization simply because I noticed the pleasure it brought to folks,” he stated.

Gillum worked his way up in the business touring to build shops for the Pied Piper retail songs chain and attaining worthwhile retail knowledge.

“Then in 1990, I claimed to my spouse, if I’m going to get into the tunes company, I better do it before I change 35,” he mentioned. “I started off executing investigation to come across spots within the state of West Virginia that ended up in will need of a provider in the tunes sector.”

Just after thing to consider of different locations, they settled on Bridgeport, choosing an 1,100-square-foot retail outlet at Meadowbrook Shopping mall.

“We originally opened as a keyboard center,” Gillum stated. “There ended up no keyboard dealers to converse of from Pittsburgh to Charleston.”

Just after selling Yamaha, Clavinova and Baldwin brands for fewer than a calendar year, he felt for certain there was a demand from customers for other musical solutions.

“So, in 1992, we opened up a 3,000-foot retailer at the mall, having on a major guitar company and drum providers and we also expanded our print music section,” Gillum reported. “We place in studios and taught non-public classes.”

As the years rolled by, Gillum and his longtime employees have frequently added stock and a long listing of makes including Squire, Jackson, Gretsch, Paul Reed Smith, Epiphone, Kramer, Sterling by Music Gentleman, Yamaha, Ovation, Teton, Schecter, Taylor, Eddy Finn, Bose, Peavey and Fender.

Showtime Audio is the only authorized Fender seller in Central West Virginia and among the the brand’s top 250 dealers in the U.S. It was that honor which attained Gillum tickets to a personal Van Halen concert, where he purchased two of his most prized guitars.

“In 2007, Fender Distinctive Tailor made Store Division worked with Eddie Van Halen to hand-develop a guitar,” he reported. “They begun out with only 300 in the environment and I really acquired one particular out of his palms. I truly acquired two of them and the 1 that he performed is on display at our retail outlet in a glass showcase beneath lock and critical, signed by Van Halen and with paperwork of authenticity.”

Showtime Songs achieved yet another demand: Specializing in church audio and customized style and design techniques.

“We put in devices and train folks how to use them,” Gillum said. “It’s an integral section of our business and a facet pretty much no one particular sees. We vacation up to 600 miles and include five states.”

Gillum and his workers have further more produced their seem and video clip company to involve sporting and other particular activities.

In 2000, Gillum obtained the keep at Beckley’s Crossroads Mall, wherever he labored as a teenager and younger adult.

“In 2009, we constructed a brand-new retail store at that shopping mall, a 4,200-sq.-foot retail outlet,” he explained.

A 3,000-sq. foot warehouse at Meadowbrook Mall shares inventory for equally retailers.

Gillum has marketed his share of clarinets, trumpets and flutes, but it is the devices which people today usually play lifelong that are the stars of Showtime Tunes.

There have been trends.

“Probably the biggest has been the acoustic furnishings-fashion piano,” Gillum reported. “It was the final to individual and spot in the residing place.”

Though the baby grand is nonetheless in desire, the piano aim has turned to digital items.

“With know-how, costs generally appear down. When you’re developing an acoustic piano, you can not carry the cost down since it is so labor intensive,” he mentioned.

Although the violin, base and ukulele all have their following, the guitar has been a long lasting trend.

“Everyone wants to master to participate in guitar and file in a residence studio,” Gillum stated. “When COVID strike and our retail retail outlet briefly shut, we had been genuinely active shipping recording products and guitars all over the nation. We received responses from shoppers expressing they were being caught at household and understanding to participate in and document.”

Showtime Music’s ecommerce Internet web page, which began in 1995, has also been a big aspect of the business.

Gillum’s wife Brenda functions in the organization, holding the guides. Both equally have encountered cancer and correctly fought the battle. Harry was identified two years ago with stage 4 pancreatic/lung cancer and has crushed the odds. The couple’s religion – and the prayers of the churches they have serviced – are to credit rating for their health and fitness and optimistic attitudes.

Their 3 sons Christopher, Nicholas and Jonathan, have all worked in the company. Jonathan has in recent years been having the reins.

The Showtime Songs workers has also come to be like relatives. They contain longtime supervisor Randy Franklin and head songs instructor David Zinn, as nicely as John Bonnett, audio engineer and technician, who also does string instrument repair and restoration. At his Beckley area, Gillum relies upon upon Monthly bill Knight, retailer supervisor and audio engineer.

By way of the a long time, Showtime Audio has taught over 100,000 private classes and held once-a-year recitals for students, pumped out about 400 guitars each individual vacation time and in general serviced about 265,000 households in many states.

The business enterprise has completed a variety of neighborhood service tasks. Potentially their most loved is Guitars for Vets. In coordination with the VA Health care Middle, guitars and classes were being donated to submit traumatic pressure syndrome victims.That exact same sense of accomplishment came shining by means of, Gillum reported.

Gillum is the founding father and previous president of the Impartial New music Retailer House owners and was in modern several years highlighted in the Countrywide Tunes Merchants Affiliation trade journal.

Jonathan Gillum mentioned he would incorporate humility to his father’s features. Even though performing in the retail outlet, he keeps a small profile, serving to customers but not introducing himself as the proprietor.

“That’s since in his brain, it requires not just a single man or woman, but the full workforce,” Jonathan mentioned.

Showtime Audio is among the prime 100 new music dealers in the environment.

It is been an amazing ride just one based mostly on the world’s most universal language, Harry Gillum claimed.

“I assume it is safe and sound to say we are giving a assistance which is wanted,” he reported. “We’ve stood by for 30 several years and ideally we’ll stand an additional 30 decades after I’m long gone, and the following generation is there. As long as they fully grasp and consider care of the requirements and needs of the shoppers – and put the dollar monthly bill aside – they will be productive.”

Editor’s Observe: Pictured prime are Harry Gillum, Brenda Gillum, Jonathan Gillum, Randy Franklin (kneeling), John Bonnett, Andrew Smith and Tyler Bunnell. Pictured just over are Harry, Brenda and Jonathan Gillum and under are Monthly bill Knight, Dave Albright and Steve Whitner at Gillum’s Showtime Tunes keep at Crossroads Shopping mall in Mount Hope, WV. Other pictures ended up taken at the Meadowbrook Mall keep.

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