Indian Summer issue 2013

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house & home ~ Piano Mill Star of Excellence 2013 Yes! by Maurajane Rogers There are For over a quarter century, Rob Norris has been restoring, tuning and selling vintage and new pianos. Since Piano Mill expanded operations last year into a 15,000 square foot building in Rockland, it's quickly become a New England destination for "everything pianos." An exclusive Baldwin and Kawai dealer, Piano Mill reaches well beyond just selling sparkling new pianos at discounted prices, but also offers an intriguing Mill-like landscape of pre-owned and vintage American and foreign made pianos that cover a wide-spectrum of musical tastes and exotic casings. It's easy to get lost in what feels like an archaeological excavation as you wind through the back wings of the building, often blowing dust off stringed wooden pearls, each with its own hard-cover story, waiting for someone to commission a custom restoration and resurrect its original beauty. Known as Steinway restoration specialist, hands-on owner, Rob, has amassed a team of technicians (the majority being women who call themselves "chicknicians") that can be viewed through the large plate glass windows from the showroom working on any number pianos in various stages of restoration or repair. ttached... sa ing Str days he laments having to wear a suit and tie more often than his shop apron, Rob is enjoying his growing notoriety as the "Piano Czar" (albeit tongue-in-cheek) and admits that sometimes after a long day, when the last light is turned off, he'll sit back, put his feet up on his desk made from an old Chickering, light a cigar and raise a glass with a phantom toast to the Piano Gods that somehow keep the music playing. 217 Centre Avenue (Rte.123) Rockland, MA 02370 781 982-8880 Watch us on YouTube Restored 1911 Ivers & Pond grand piano, originally handcrafted in Boston. The Mill building contains a large showroom along with a complete area enclosed for lessons and concerts as well as the restoration portion of the business that is the gateway to another large area of storage and a workshop where refinishing is done. Rob remembers when he started this venture out of his home garage with only 2 or 3 pianos at a time. But now it's a whole different universe, and with the phone ringing off the hook with requests for moving, tuning, music lessons, appraisals, restorations and helping people navigate the piano buying process, he rarely has time to join his fellow piano techs in the shop. "I have to laugh when people ask me with a trace of sarcasm how I can earn a living selling pianos in this economy and I'm thinking how I have to add 3 more phone lines and hire new staff to cover the business overflow just to keep up." But, even though these indian summer ~2013 25

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