If one ever witnessed a performance by Pacific Northwest Ballet or experienced a concert inside the Benaroya Hall in the United States, then it is more than likely that he or she has been touched by Sherman Clay & Company. Unfortunately, after being in the industry for more than a century, the piano dealer are finally drawing their curtains next month.
“It’s a very sad day for us. Serving the musical needs of Seattle residents has been a privilege,” stated Tom Austin, president of the retail division for Sherman Clay. The Schwartz family first took over the San Francisco-based music company back in 1960. Sadly, they have already announced plans to close their only remaining retail shop in downtown Seattle by the end of September. The closure of this last retail shop will mark an end to the company’s nearly 143-year run in the piano retail business.
“The family didn’t have any more family members that wanted to focus on this part of the business they own. They made their decision to focus on other businesses,” explained Tom. Since they took over the piano business, the Schwartz family has ventured their business further into commercial real estate, retail sales financing, and paper manufacturing. These three are the areas that the owners have chose to retain and to focus on.
According to Tom, during Sherman Clay’s peak, they operated a total of 60 retail stores around the country. However, one by one they slowly closed down. The Seattle location was the last one standing. In fact, their San Francisco stores were bought by Steinway & Sons , but were closed last spring. As for those stores in the Portland area, they also closed during last winter. Although, the four employees working at the Seattle location have lost their jobs, Tom is rather positive that they will not have much of a problem job hunting with their connections, musical knowledge and passion for playing.
Aside from selling of pianos, Sherman Clay is also well known for providing a location for both local teachers and students to hold recitals and performances as well as to conduct meetings. Tom went on to add that in the coming weeks, a successor to the company will be named. Hence, he still strongly believe that the needs of the local arts and music community will continue to be served. For the full story, you can read it here.