The Philco company transferred Jesse and Mavis Gourley to Sioux Falls in the early 1950s. Jesse, an electrical engineer, left Philco in the late ‘50s and started Gourley Distributing. The business sold appliances, record players, stereos and other items. Gourley Distributing bought goods in large volume and stored them in the huge warehouse that now houses the ICON Lounge.
Son Rick was to attend the University of Nebraska to study architecture. Since he had gone with his dad to trade shows as a teenager, he was brought into the business. Rick graduated from Augustana and worked for Gourley Distributing. By the mid-1970s, Gourley started carrying the latest in music equipment and installed hundred of sound systems in churches and auditoriums.
Dick Bowman, who managed the retail end of the business, was well known to local and regional musicians. They still purchased JBL, ElectroVoice, Peavey, and Shure products in bulk, so they could sell at a discount. JBL distributors from Omaha and Minneapolis complained to the company that bands from their own territories would come to Pro Audio to buy products. JBL wouldn’t renew their contract with the Sioux Falls location.
Daryl Skancke, Mickey Jensen, Scot Nesbitt, and Marc Haaland were familiar staff members at Pro Audio. They were all musicians, so they knew the language. Pro Audio, in the Gourley Building at Main Avenue and Sixth Street, lasted from 1976 until 1999. Out-of-town musicians and locals knew where to go to get great prices on top-of-the-line music gear.