CST:25/05/2016 06:04:43   

Major Maryland Piano Store to Close Its Doors

103 Days ago

(NewsUSA) - Sponsored News - Blame it on kids who can download music from iTunes with a swipe of a finger. Or point to a sluggish economy. Maybe it's the fact that society as a whole, while still in love with music, would rather watch TV than gather around a piano. Whatever the reason, piano sales have been less than grand for decades, as fewer people take up the instrument. With an average cost of $16,000 for a new grand piano, it's easy to understand why those who are interested might opt for a less expensive electronic keyboard or buy used. According to the National Association of Music Merchants, the best year for new piano sales was more than a century ago; in 1909 more than 364,500 were sold, and our population was only 90 million. Today? Our population has more than tripled, while piano sales have reportedly plummeted to an all-time low. Only 30,000 new pianos were sold in 2015. "Computer technology has just changed everything about what kids are interested in," said Larry Fine, a Boston-based piano technician. "People are interested in things that don't take much effort, so the idea of sitting and playing an hour a day to learn piano is not what kids want to do." Which is why piano stores like Piano Man's Piano Superstore in College Park, Maryland, is being forced to close its doors. The 32,000 square foot store specializes in late-model, brand-name, pre-owned pianos at discounted prices, catering to professionals as well as beginners. The company normally reconditions and restores 20 to 30 pianos every month, but the company said its sales have been lagging. Owner Nick Margaritas said that since the onset of the recession, new piano sales have been dropping rapidly and are only half of what they were in 2008. Another indicator that things are not what they once were is that sales for the 2015 Christmas season -- a peak time for the industry -- were the softest seen in years. Couple that with the blizzard of 2016, and the decision to close an operation that was simply "too big to succeed" was an easy one, said Margaritas. Top brands such as Steinway, Baldwin, Yamaha, Kawai and others must be sold prior to the projected closing date of April 30. The Baltimore Showroom and Piano Service Center that has been in operation since 1974 will, however, remain open. For more information, visit www.pianomansuperstore.com.

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