Bonners was started in 1976 by Peter Bonner (family name Whichello). The Whichello family were well known in the local community - having owned the building firm responsible for large housing developments in the Pevensey and Langney areas of the town.
Peter was a working musician by night - and in particular was one of the resident acts at the popular Kings Country Club in the seaside town of Eastbourne, East Sussex. He played Hammond Organ, saxophone and clarinet, and worked alongside famous acts such as The Three Degrees, Neil Diamond, Tom Jones, Dusty Springfield and Ella Fitzgerald., Peter felt he needed something to occupy his free time in the day and decided to start trading in musical instruments.
Peter rented a small shop in Ivy Terrace in 1976 from which he sold various instruments, and was also the first UK importer of the Philips Karaoke System. With the growing popularity of home organs from manufacturers such as Lowrey, Hammond and Yamaha, the business grew at an astounding rate and very soon more space was required. Peter had brought his son Gary in to help run the business and they agreed to swap premises with the dry cleaning company who was operating from the larger shop next door.