George H. Booth
Tupelo Hardware was originally founded by George H. Booth in 1926 in a building across the street from its current location. In 1945, George's son, William, returned from World War II to work for his father. William "Bill" Booth owned and managed the business until his death in 2000. Since that time the business has been owned and managed by William's son, George H. Booth II. His son, George III, joined the business as a full-time employee in 2014.
Throughout most of the company's history, Tupelo Hardware has served its customers from its three-story brick, Main Street location in the historic downtown district of Tupelo, Mississippi. Tupelo Hardware is widely known as the business where an eleven-year-old boy named Elvis Presley bought his first guitar in 1946.
From left to right
Lester E. Wright
From Left To Right
Forest L. Bobo-Long
Thomas Henry Booth
George H. Booth - Founder
Lester E. Wright - Long time employee
Under Construction in 1941
Tupelo Hardware has a reputation for knowledgeable, reliable, and personal service which is largely attributed to the many staff members who have worked behind the antique wooden counters waiting on multiple generations of good customers. Long-time employees know their market and have not only waited on customers for years, but have also likely waited on their customers' parents in the same location. This is one key to the company's success.
As the story is recorded in Forrest L. Bobo’s letter dated October 2, 1979, Gladys Presley brought her son Elvis to Tupelo Hardware in January 1945 to buy him a birthday present. According to Mr. Bobo, Elvis would have preferred a rifle, but his mother succeeded in buying a guitar instead. The boy strummed the new guitar for a while, before his mother paid $7.75 and a 2% sales tax. The rest is history!
All Elvis fans are welcome to visit during our normal business hours.
A Letter Written October 2, 1979
on Tupelo Hardware Company letterhead
GOOD MORNING -
My name is Forrest L. Bobo from Tupelo, Mississippi. I an 78 years young today, but I can well remember the afternoon when Elvis Presley and his mother came into Tupelo Hardware, where I worked for twenty years. He wanted a 22 cal. rifle and his mother wanted him to buy a guitar. I showed him the rifle first and then I got the guitar for him to look at. I put a wood box behind the showcase and let him play with the guitar for some time. Then he said that he did not have that much money, which was only $7.75 plus 2% sales tax. His mother told him that if he would buy the guitar instead of the rifle, she would pay the difference for him. The papers have said that the guitar cost $12.50 but at that time you could have bought a real nice one that amount. The small amount of money that he had to spend had been earned by running errands and doing small jobs for people.
I am proud to have a little part in Elvis' life. I had supper with Elvis the night he left for his first audition. We all wished him a great success, and he sure made a great life for himself and the rest of the world.
Thank you for your time.
Forrest L. Bobo