Griggs Music celebrating 110 years of Quad City business

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Griggs Music is celebrating 110 years of business in the Quad Cities, and Tuesday, owners said the secret to success hasn't changed in more than a century.

"I think that the Griggs family has always been about truth, honesty and treating people fairly, and it's a tradition that we continue to try and uphold today," said co-owner Steve Judge.

Judge first took a job at Griggs Music as an 18-year-old who wanted to be a rock star. Forty years later, he is still with the company and calls the anniversary "humbling."

Times have certainly changed since Arthur P. Griggs opened a downtown piano store in the fall of 1903. Pictures on display show the company delivering pianos by horse-drawn carriage, and a 1924 advertisement shows pianos for sale for $65.

The company survived two World Wars, and during the Great Depression, the store even sold appliances and refrigerators. As the music industry evolved, so did Griggs.

"In the mid-1960s is when the Beatles hit. Music stores changed dramatically. You'll see all sorts of guitars and amps and keyboards," Judge explained.

Today, Griggs Music focuses on instruments for school bands and orchestras. The Mendez family stopped in to pick up a viola on Tuesday, and mom Danielle said she understands how a love of music can span generations.

"We've always had music in our house, and it's just something that is really enjoyable for all of us and our family. We can do it all together," said Mendez.

Judge said it's that same, passed-down passion for music that has kept Griggs Music in business for 110 years.

"For me, that's one of the most rewarding things -- to have somebody come in and say, 'My grandfather used to deal with Mr. Griggs downtown,'" said Judge.

Vintage photos, celebrity autographs and an antique cash register will be on display at Griggs Music all week. An anniversary reception is planned for Saturday, December 14, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the store at 3849 Brady Street.