Grand pianos on display at Valley Music Center in Fresno. The store will be closing its doors next year and moving to north Fresno, where it will become Steinway Piano Gallery. Photo by Donald A. Promnitz
Written by Donald A. Promnitz
One of the world’s most renowned piano makers — relied on by 98 percent of concert pianists worldwide — will be opening up an exclusive dealership in north Fresno next year, where it will sell its products in a more optimal location.
The new dealership, Steinway Piano Gallery, will be located at Palm and Herndon avenues. The owner, Heyner Oviedo, said that he hopes to have the store open by next March. The gallery will exclusively offer pianos by Steinway & Sons and other brands owned by them, including Essex and Boston, along with digital pianos by Roland. It will be one of 28 Steinway galleries in the country.
“It takes about a year to make a Steinway from day one to the end. They only make about 2,500 pianos a year,” Oviedo said. “There’s a lot of handiwork on these pianos — the best materials, the best graphing — so yes, it’s considered the top. The Rolls Royce of the pianos.”
Currently, Oviedo sells his instruments at Valley Music Center on Fresno Street and Ashlan Avenue. The decision to close down and open a new store, he said, came in part because a shooting near the store last November.
“We were in the parking lot. We were actually doing a recital,” Oviedo said. “So that was the time we thought: ‘We need to move to an area where our brand will fit perfectly with the demographics.’”
The new Steinway Piano Gallery will be just less than 4,200 square feet in size and, like Valley Music Center, will feature a recital hall and classrooms.
Valley Music currently has 40 pianos in its inventory and 13 instructors giving lessons to roughly 200 students. These students range in age groups from children to senior citizens.
Originally from Costa Rica, Oviedo has played the piano since age 7. His brother Hans, the store’s manager, also plays.
“Not as well, like him,” Hans said, “but I play the piano.”
The brothers said that they have begun a sale on their pianos with the intent of clearing out Valley Music Center before the move. Steinway & Sons will supply the inventory for their new store.
“We’re going to continue our sale until our inventory is sold out,” Oviedo said. “We are not ordering more pianos, so what we want is to empty our warehouse.”