Enriching the lives of children. . .
They say that to fully understand a person's mindset, thought process, and beliefs
you need look no further than their childhood. This tenet is especially true for Paul
David. In a time when larger families were more prevalent than today, Paul was the
10th child of a family of 13 children born and raised in a small home on Third
Street in Massillon, Ohio.
Early on in his life, Paul was exposed to the struggles of supporting a family, as he
was six when the Great Depression started in 1929. However, whenever Paul
spoke of his childhood, he always fondly shared the wonderful times spent with his
siblings playing, sharing home cooked meals, and visiting with relatives. He
mentioned the financial strife only as an afterthought; but deep down, it left an
indelible impression on him. He saw once powerful people humbled by the turn of
events, and he learned at an early age that success could be fleeting.
As a youth he was fascinated with sports; and as a high school student at
Washington High School in Massillon, he had the good fortune of being a student
of the late Paul Brown, who was a family friend and would later become a dear and lifelong friend of Paul's. It was from Coach Brown that Paul began
to learn the art of leadership…lessons that he would later apply in his own life and business career. Coach Brown, as he had with many other
Massillonians, exposed Paul to the great game of football; and Paul subsequently became a lifelong, active supporter of the Massillon Tiger football
Upon graduating from high school, Paul served honorably in the United States Army during World War II. Following the war, he rejoined his family in
Massillon and began working alongside many of his siblings at David Brothers Wholesale Toys.
In 1956, as a self-proclaimed 'peddler', he began selling records from the trunk of his '56 Buick to a few grocery stores in southern Ohio. In 1957, he
expanded his distribution to larger retail chains including Kresge, F.W. Woolworth, and W.T. Grant and opened his first Stark Record & Tape
Service warehouse. Over the next decade, Paul began to see a shift in the retail environment with the advent of the shopping mall. He saw the malls
as a tremendous opportunity and abandoned the wholesale business (which at the time generated nearly 100% of his company's revenues) and
began to open music stores of his own. It was this bold step that would eventually prove to be the most significant business decision that Paul ever
As mall development grew across the country, Paul developed a strong business relationship with Ed DeBartolo, Sr., a
leader and pioneer in this field. During one meeting together, Mr. DeBartolo asked Paul in how many of his malls he
wanted to be a tenant. Paul responded, "I'll take all you got." At the time, Camelot Music was a small regional chain with
stores in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. Mr. DeBartolo asked Paul to fly to central Florida with him to view an area that
was 'up and coming' with a theme park on the way. Mr. DeBartolo intended to build several malls in the area; and Paul
agreed, on the spot, to open a store in every mall DeBartolo was to build in the area. The area was Orlando, Florida, and
the new theme park was Walt Disney World. Upon returning to his office, Paul convened his key people and informed
them of his plan to expand to Florida. Initially, his plan was met with opposition as, after all, all of Camelot's existing stores
and its distribution center were a thousand miles away. Paul's response was typical for those who knew him. He said, "I
don't know yet how we are going to do it; all I know is that we ARE going to do it." From there, Paul's Camelot Music chain
eventually grew to over 400 locations in 40 states and became recognized by the industry as the 'best in class' music
retailer in the country. To this day, Camelot is the only music retailer to have been named the National Association of Recording Merchandisers
'Retailer of the Year' a record six times. Paul sold his beloved Camelot Music in 1993, but required that the new owner retain the headquarters (and
hundreds of jobs) in its existing Stark County, Ohio location. Again, reflecting his background, Paul didn't want the people who helped him achieve
success to be without work.
Along the way, Paul met and married Carol, his wife of 44 years. Together they raised four children and were later blessed with six grandchildren.
Paul and Carol complemented each other very well and despite the demands of owning and running a major company, made it a priority to spend
time together and as a family. Without Carol's unwavering support, Paul, by his own admission, would not have been able to achieve the success
the he eventually came to realize.
In 1980, Paul and Carol formed a family charitable foundation now known as the Paul & Carol David Foundation. From 1980 through 1993, the
Foundation's primary focus was on awarding scholarship grants to students who demonstrated excellence in the classroom but faced a significant
financial hurdle in their goal of pursuing a higher education. Through Paul's vision and efforts in building Camelot Music, Carol and he were able to
generously endow the Foundation. Over the years, the increase in the Foundation's resources has enabled the broadening of the Foundation's
charitable purposes to expand beyond the granting of a small number of scholarships to the broader mission that it enjoys today.
Paul David passed away on November 7, 2002, at the age of 79. He left behind a history of good deeds, which symbolize his genuine love of
people, especially those less fortunate. Today, the Foundation continues his legacy of caring for children suffering through hardship so that they
may one day enjoy the life they so richly deserve.