Neil Dorsey

Neil Dorsey (Photo: Brian Cook)

Neil Dorsey (Photo: Brian Cook)

Dorsey’s Record Shop is one of the oldest surviving businesses in Homewood. Since 1946, the Dorsey family has owned and operated the shop, adjusting and adapting to the changing times to stay afloat in the shifting, high-tech, and fast-paced economy. Neil Dorsey, son of the founder, Cornelius Dorsey, now runs the shop, and believes that to stay afloat, you have to stay aware. Neil Dorsey was born and raised in Homewood, and grew up washing windows and mopping
floors in the shop. He graduated high school in 1963, and attended college at West Virginia State University. He served in the Army for three years during the Vietnam War era, and returned to Homewood to work with his father at Dorsey’s.

Just as society was changing, Dorsey’s found that it had to change, too. Technology shifted from record players to stereos and speakers, and soon, Dorsey’s purchased three repair trucks for at-home repairs for clients. However, they found that the amount of labor involved in fixing home appliances was not practical, and went back to focusing on music sales. Eventually, the medium of music recording changed, too, making retail sales harder. Like they always did, the Dorseys
made it work.

Neil Dorsey became the head of the shop after his father retired. He went back to school to learn how to become a more versatile business owner. He trained in computer hardware while his son Marcus went to college, studied film, and came back to the shop to specialize in software. Through trial and error — including another foray into home repairs, which is no longer a service — the two have found a harmonious balance, while still being able to work with music
depending on their clients’ needs.

Neil Dorsey makes sure to keep the Dorsey’s Record Shop tradition as a family-owned, community-centered business alive. The shop supports neighborhood churches, nonprofits, and schools, financially and otherwise. Local promoters are allowed space in the shop to hang their flyers for events. Dorsey believes that because the neighborhood has been good to the store, it is only right to repay them accordingly.

Neil Dorsey and his family have played an important role in making Homewood feel like home. Despite the development of shopping malls and eventually, online shopping, Dorsey’s Record Shop has thrived because it prioritizes the needs of its customers. In return, Homewood has continued to support the hard work of the business owner, who shows no signs of slowing down soon.