I know that this is a fairly bold claim to make – a one-of-a-kind piano store – but I think that I can make a reasonable case for it. For many years Sherman Clay Pianos was the Steinway and Sons dealership in Portland, Oregon. The Sherman Clay company, at it’s peak, had eleven stores (mostly in the western states) and was the largest piano chain in the world. After over 100 years in operation the decision was reached to close or sell off the stores and retain only the Allegro Acceptance piano financing arm of the company. Mitch Paola had been with the company for 24 years and was the General Manager and Brenda Kell had been with them for 14 years as a sales associate at the time of their closing. After Sherman Clay closed their Portland doors Mitch became the founder and owner of Portland Piano Company and Brenda Kell stepped into the General Manager shoes. Sherman Clay graciously allowed them to adopt the loyal customer base, teachers and good will of the company, facilitating a seemless transition and no orphaned customers. The store later moved to their beautiful and spacious new facilities in the historic Tiffany Center at SW 14th and Morrison in Portland on April 26, 2013.
Here is where the uniqueness comes in. Most piano stores, if they are fortunate, will carry one new world class piano brand. It is rare that they would have two available. Portland Piano Company carries Fazioli, Grotrian and Sheguru Kawai pianos. The consensus of many international piano aficionados is that these are, respectively, the finest Italian, German and Japanese pianos in the entire world. Also, because of his decades long association with the Steinway community, Mitch is able to offer one of the best selections of pre-owned Steinways on the whole west coast. The huge advantage here is that you can try four of the absolutely finest pianos in the world side by side. Trying different piano brands in different facilities – hours or days apart – makes the selection process much more difficult. Research has shown that the human mind can only hold a tone for comparison sake for a few moments. Also, Portland Piano Company carries an excellent selection of the very fine and famous Baldwin pianos and Kawai acoustic and digital pianos. Kawai pianos have won numerous prestigious awards, especially in the last decade and they are really making a name for themselves in the piano world in the 21st Century. Subjectively, the Kawai brand now has a warmer, richer and fuller sound than what has been typically associated with Japanese pianos without loosing the clarity and bell like quality that has been there hallmark. Further, the all carbon fiber action they feature is not subject to the temperature and humidity variances of older all wood actions. You owe it to yourself to try these wonderful pianos and hear and experience the quality of tone and touch.
Piano brands aside, Mitch Paola and Brenda Kell have an outstanding reputation in the Portland piano community that goes back decades. I believe that I can make this observation objectively since I am also a music shop owner and a friend of the store. I have been extremely impressed with the stand-up way they do business. If you buy a piano from Portland Piano Company they are going to take good care of you. Ask around and you will get accounts of consistently fine service and fair dealing. It is also a really fun place to visit if you are a pianist. Come play some of the world’s great works of art. Also, Portland Piano Company maintains an excellent recital hall facility that frequently features great concerts that are open to the public, often for free or quite inexpensively. Contact Brenda Kell and ask to be put on their email events newsletter.