- Andy Skinner
Seven Decades and Counting of Arthur’s Music Store
By: Seth Johnson
The year was 1952, and Amos Arthur was looking to start a successful music store in Indianapolis. After examining the market, Arthur noticed one major piece of the puzzle that was missing and decided he’d try to service the need. Herein, Arthur’s Music Store was born.
“When dad started, almost all the other music stores in Indianapolis were piano stores,” says Linda Osborne, who represents the second generation of Arthur’s Music Store. “So he was able to establish an identity and have a solid start because he was mainly doing guitars and other instruments that they weren’t doing.”
Since starting out in the ‘50s, Arthur’s Music Store has stayed at its same Fountain Square location on Shelby Street, being passed down from generation to generation while also expanding in size. Originally founded by Amos and Leola Arthur, the store was passed down to Linda Osborne, who has now brought her daughter Amy England into the fold.
Over the years, Arthur’s Music Store has branched out to start a few other locations, including one in Speedway for a brief time in the mid- ‘60s and one in Broad Ripple from 1966 to 1978. In time, however, the Arthur family eventually decided it was best that they focus on their Fountain Square store, especially considering they own the Shelby Street property it’s located on. “It’s pretty darn expensive to keep this quality and level of inventory, so we decided to just have the one store,” Osborne says.
From the beginning, Amos Arthur made music lessons and repairs a big focus of Arthur’s Music Store.
“He was always very interested in lessons and repairs, while making sure that people got the right kind of instrument,” Osborne says. “I think that made a big difference too. We are benefiting from that nowadays because we have customers who have been around for 50 to 60 years that still remember getting started that way.”
Arthur’s Music Store still offers a wide range of lessons to this day, including everything from guitar to bagpipe lessons. The shop’s talented staff can service a wide range of repair needs too.
“We do repairs up to the point where people need major surgery,” Amy England says. “We don’t do body structure work, and we don’t do refinish work. But other than that, we can do just about anything.”
In reflecting on the instruments they have in stock, Osborne says Arthur’s Music Store has just about everything except recording and P.A. equipment, MIDI devices, and synthesizers.
“We carry a lot of instruments that people can’t find other places,” Osborne says. “If we know how to teach it or we can repair it, then we’ll sell it. Accordions and pedal steel are two instruments we have that you won’t find much of anywhere, but that’s because we have people who can teach and repair them.”
When it comes to the people who work at Arthur’s Music Store, England says there’s a certain type of human being that the shop seeks out.
“You can teach someone how to play an instrument. You can teach someone how to sell an instrument. What you can’t teach is them being a good, honest person who’s engaging and can speak to anybody,” England says.
By maintaining their excellent staff, Arthur’s Music Store is able to ensure that their shop is always open and welcoming to all.
“We are extremely inclusive here. We will wait on and talk to anybody. Everyone is equal when they walk in the door,” England says.
Arthur’s Music Store is located at 931 Shelby St. in Fountain Square. Stay up to date on store hours by visiting ArthursMusic.com.