J. W. Jenkins' Sons
- Existence: 1878 - 1997
In 1878 John Woodward Jenkins established Jenkins Music Company in a small space rented from a sewing machine and wall paper shop. His son John Wesley, who began working for his father as a teenager, was largely responsible for its later growth and success, culminating with an April 1932 move to the iconic building at 1217 Walnut Street in downtown Kansas City. The multi-story building contained floors devoted to band instruments, stringed instruments, sheet music, appliances, a printing department, and an elaborate display of pianos. The store also offered private show rooms and an auditorium that seated 250 people.
Seven months after the new store opened, John Wesley was killed in a car accident. He died a millionaire, and his will dispersed more than $30,000 to the YMCA and more than $20,000 to 120 long-time employees. Jenkins Music Company continued to thrive through the mid-1900s, but its success faded in the following decades. It was sold to the Minnesota-based Schmitt Music Company in 1997.