Ashley Music Store, a longtime institution in Harrison, announced on Facebook yesterday that they’ll be closing their doors in September after 70 years in business. Founder Hugh Ashley, a former state representative and mayor of Harrison — as well as a successful songwriter who penned records for Bill Monroe, Porter Wagoner, Brenda Lee, Jim Reeves and Dinah Shore — passed away in 2008. (For more on Ashley, read our feature obit.) Ashley’s daughter Robin explained the store’s closing in a Facebook note passed on by a reader:
It is with tremendous sadness that I tell you, after nearly 70 years, Ashley Music Store will soon be closing its doors. The end of a long and beautiful era that started when mom and dad first opened the Harrison store in 1946, the same year they were married. My sisters and I are so incredibly proud that our family business has been a source of musical inspiration to so many. Our mom and dad left an amazing legacy of love, opportunity, and integrity. How many of you were able to purchase your first guitar because my dad let you pay it out at $5 a week? How many of you remember coming to Ashley’s to test out those 45s on our turntable? How many of you were touched and influenced by our wonderful parents? How many other mom and pop stores have been able to survive for nearly 70 years in competition with big box stores and online sales? Thank you so much for those of you who have been faithful to patronize our store and keep it alive for such an amazing run. Daddy told us that whenever it got to the point where we were having to subsidize the store with other funds, then it would be time to shut it down. He said, the store has served its purpose. It has indeed served our family and others well, it put my sisters and me through college. We literally grew up in that store… it was where we learned our work ethic, how to count change, how to interact with all kinds of people… it was the most important life skills training a child could ever hope for. Please come by and celebrate the good memories with us. We will be closing the doors for good in mid September. We want to express our extreme gratitude to Janet, Josh, Dean, and John for carrying on after our parents’ passing to keep the legacy alive as long as possible. But the time has finally come to close this beloved chapter. Please come see us and share your stories and help us honor our parents as they so well deserve. My sisters and I will be there in September and would love to see you! God bless you all!