In 1928, Otto and Sarah Fox set up Fox Music House in a small shop on King Street in downtown Charleston to sell and service instruments.

Ninety-one years and several moves later, the family-owned piano business continues to flourish, celebrating its grand opening in a 22,000-square-foot former Salvation Army building at 4248 Dorchester Road in North Charleston.

"The new building has streamlined everything," said general manager Joseph Fox on Wednesday as he walked the showroom floor between rows of 110 pianos from brands such as Yamaha, Hammond, Seiler and Pearl River.

Fox Music House (copy)

Joseph Fox, general manager Fox Music House, talks about the company's new larger location on Dorchester Road Wednesday. The music store relocated from Montague Avenue near International Boulevard after 25 years. Brad Nettles/Staff

His father, company president Charles Fox, called selecting and preparing the new location "a labor of love" and pointed out Jeff Baxter of the redevelopment firm Cityvolve for helping secure the site after a long search.

"He helped us tremendously," he said.

Through tears when talking about his late father, Maurice, the elder Fox said the business's longevity can be attributed to "putting customers first."

Servicing what they sell is a big part of the business as well, and the site includes a 5,000-square-foot service center in the back. It also offers a 1,500-square-foot recording studio and 3,000 square feet set aside in nine rooms for lessons operated through Black Tie Music Academy.

Fox Music House (copy)

The nearly century-old Fox Music House relocated to 4248 Dorchester Road from the company's former Montague Avenue site, where it operated for the past 25 years. Brad Nettles/Staff

As the music business blossomed during the past century, Fox Music grew to seven locations and 85 employees across the Charleston area, Columbia and Augusta. It has now centralized everything in the new North Charleston site, with 17 full-time and one part-time employee.

For the past 25 years, the music store operated on Montague Avenue near Interstate 26 in a 12,000-square-foot building. Two years ago, Rusty Bull Brewing took over about 7,000 square feet in the back when Fox Music began looking for a new location.

"We didn't have the capacity we needed anymore to show our selection," Joseph Fox said.

We're starting a weekly newsletter about the business stories that are shaping Charleston and South Carolina. Get ahead with us - it's free.

Fox Music House (copy)

Grand pianos are lined up at Fox Music House's new location at 4248 Dorchester Road in North Charleston. Brad Nettles/Staff

This summer the firm will offer group therapy sessions for children who have a hard time communicating. 

"Music helps them to communicate better," Joseph Fox said.

He also called Fox Music House the oldest and largest Yamaha retail storefront on the East Coast.

Fox Music House (copy)

An artist rendering of Charleston churches and synagogues in the showroom of Fox Music House at 4248 Dorchester Road in North Charleston. Brad Nettles/Staff

In 2013, the state Arts Commission bestowed the shop with the Elizabeth O'Neill Verner Award, the highest honor the state awards in the arts.

The new shop will mark the grand opening with several events in March free to the public.

Reach Warren L. Wise at 843-937-5524. Follow him on Twitter @warrenlancewise.

Warren Lance Wise covers retail, real estate and Charleston International Airport for The Post and Courier. A graduate of the University of South Carolina, he holds nearly 50 local, state and national awards for journalistic excellence.