Happy New year to you all and welcome to the first news update of the year. I hope you all enjoyed the Festive break and feel energised and ready to get back to normal routine. The showrooms have been open again from the 2nd and I am really looking forward to the year ahead with many exciting things to look forward to.

The showrooms were really busy towards the end of last year and a few pianos have been selected this year already! Remarkably, we have seen five GL10 Kawai selected over this period, two have been delivered the others will be delivered as they arrive from Kawai. This is without doubt the most impressive piano in its class but we have never seen quite such a demand as this before. All of these selections were great fun and ranged from complete beginners to music teachers, the GL10 is a piano that can be suitable for any playing ability. We also saw a Kawai GX-1 and a GX-2 out over this period, I am a massive fan of the GX range, they are such a joy to play. Everything about these pianos is impressive; the wonderful tone, responsive touch, fabulous cabinet finishes and even the material of the key tops, makes for a very immersive playing experience. The replacement GX2 is in with the GX1 on order again. These two models sit either side of the remarkable SK2 Shigeru Kawai, oh my word what a piano! We have seen two models selected since introducing them to our line up and it is a piano that I am always keen to show off, almost exclusively it is loved by all players. As a premium quality piano it is good enough to compete with any other piano of its size and stand a very good chance of being selected on quality, let alone the competitive price against rivals. The Wilh. Steinberg P178 grand has also been selected recently by a fantastic local piano teacher who taught me for a couple of years in my twenties. The Steinberg pianos are proving very popular in the showroom with a gentle but lyrical tonal performance associated with top quality pianos. Both the upright and grand pianos offer a performance beyond what is normally associated similarly priced pianos. I am hoping to visit the factory in Eisenberg soon to see the production and meet the factory team, in recent times sales of Wilh. Steinberg pianos have increased by over 60%! In a business where many manufacturers are fighting for market share this is quite remarkable and testament to the quality of the pianos on offer.

I received a very welcome surprise from Sharad at Cloud Pursuit when we met after Christmas to discuss web site related matters. We had previously discussed various tweaks to be made to the site, the surprise was that over the Festive period he had completely re-designed the site! It is due to be published in its new form soon, it may even accompany this update. I am absolutely thrilled with it, one of those things that once seen it makes the old version seem a little dated. I am very grateful to Sharad for his hard work and confidence in designing the new look, I hope that you all like it. The web site is so important to us, it is in effect a shop window to our business. My view has always been that the presentation and content has to give an honest and accurate presentation of my business, I think the new version builds on the success of the previous design with a cleaner and more modern feel. I don’t keep statistics but I would estimate that around 80% or our business comes from referral with the other 20% from internet searches, I am pretty sure even referred visitors will take a look at our web site too so its importance cannot be underestimated.

The roller coaster of business doesn’t always go according to plan. Our fabulous Grotrian-Steinweg Concertino model made its way to a smashing chap in Cornwall towards the end of last year. Unfortunately, the piano proved to be too big and powerful for the room that it went into so we brought it back to the showroom again. I have always held the belief that the true character of a company can be gauged when things don’t go to plan. In this case it wasn’t the right piano and the correct thing to do was to bring it back, disappointing for both the customer and us but we would never see a customer with a piano that they were not completely happy with in their home. This fabulous big upright is now being offered at a reduced price after going on its holidays, a good opportunity to purchase what is considered one of the best uprights pianos made today…

I am pleased to report that I have now totally embraced the digital diary system. While sad to retire the Filofax, the iPad is proving a really helpful upgrade. Michelle and I can now access all four tuning diaries to make changes, I think we have both just about got the hang of it now. As ever, the diaries are completely full and look very colourful on the screen when featured all together. We never stop taking new tuning customers though and generally as gaps in the diary appear new appointments can slot in, generally it works really well. I spent last week in schools with two kore days planned next week to get our regulars ready for the new term. John is away in January so Vicky, Richard and myself are flat out, it is the way we all like it!

That I think concludes the update, domestic duties call. Michelle is off work at the moment, when she is back we will get together and plan events and keep you posted. As ever, the more visitors the merrier, we always enjoy showing off our pianos and chatting to existing customers over coffee. If you find any spare time we’d be pleased to hear from you and welcome you to the showroom

All the best for 2019.

Ben

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