By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great local journalism.
400 spaces: Ponce De Leon Music Center, 50 years in the making, the legacy lives on
Ponce De Leon Music Center
Haricharan Govindasamy, left, gets a guitar lesson from teacher Eddie Dye at Ponce De Leon Music Center. - photo by Brian Paglia

This article appears in the July issue of  400 Life.

From its creation 50 years ago, Ponce De Leon Music Center continues to stand as a monument of the local music community in Forsyth County. 

Its founder, Max Gore, originally built the establishment on Ponce de Leon Avenue in Decatur. In the 1980s, Gore moved the store to Cumming, continuing its legacy as an epicenter for the music community. 

About two years ago, the founding family passed the ownership of the store to Kathy Hines and Shawn Rochester, who worked at the store previously. These newly-transitioned owners intend to continue the legacy of which Max Gore and his family left behind. Ponce De Leon operates on a principal of true passion for music while simultaneously giving personal and practical assistance to any of their customers needs. 

Ponce De Leon Music Center o
Ponce De Leon Music Center owners Shawn Rochester, left, and Kathy Hines. - photo by Brian Paglia

With its motto “Everything in Music,” Ponce De Leon aims to serve its customers’ every musical need. They cover all facets of services like sales, rental, repairs, lessons and events. Its rental services include providing local schools with band equipment and personal use. 

They also offer music lessons for a range of different instruments including all string, combo and band. Like the floor staff, each instructor also has a comprehensive background in music with a specialty in their advertised instrument. 

Ponce De Leon hosts a multitude of different events to include free live music events for the general public in an effort to highlight local musicians. 

In all, the staff of Ponce De Leon is passionate about spreading the love of music to unite Forsyth County in any way they can. 

It can be assured that Ponce De Leon’s staff is dedicated to doing anything possible to advance every customer’s love for music with whatever advice, equipment or event necessary.

When discussing Ponce’s intention for the community, all of the owners and staff agreed that they wanted to fill the gap of a local place for musicians. 

“We wanted this to be a safe haven for music. Local musicians didn’t have a place where they could play and be immediately connected to the community. We wanted to be that place for them,” said Daniel Mashburn, retail store manager. 

Rochester said that Ponce De Leon focuses on connecting its customers to their personal music passion. “It’s not so much about the competition or sales. It’s about people’s real love for music,” Rochester said. 

It’s evident that each person working at Ponce De Leon has a genuine love for the Forsyth community. 

Hines said that the Ponce De Leon legacy is focused on the connection between its customers and their own personal music journeys. 

“What I love most about owning the store is just being the forefront for people’s love for music. Just seeing the joy on these kids’ faces is enough for me to keep working,” Hines said. 

Ponce De Leon Music Center is not only a place to get your dream guitar, but also a hub of music lovers with the intent to pull Forsyth County community closer together.

To learn more about Ponce De Leon Music Center, visit

Story by Jordyn Paul-Slater for 400 Life.