SALES EDUCATOR AND MANAGER OF THE PIANO PLACE

June 05, 2021

SALES EDUCATOR AND MANAGER OF THE PIANO PLACE

Grant's musical interest began when he was 9 years old. He expressed an interest in music so his parents purchased a piano and provided music lessons. He soon learned the value of being instructed by quality teachers. “ Bad habits can develop,” he said, “but a good teacher can prevent that by teaching students the correct way to play, and take their students further.” Later, after he became a Piano Teacher, he continued to study lessons so he could stay current and offer his own students more knowledge. He started his teaching career at the age of 18 and became an assistant teacher under the tutelage of Robert Schulman, which whet Grant's appetite for teaching! “Teaching was in my blood,” he said. “I always felt I was a teacher!” After several years, he decided to venture out on his own where he taught for 30 years and acquired a roster of 45 students per week! His educational history was diversified.

He studied Musicology and Theory at Wayne State University where he also majored in Humanities, Anthropology, Interior Design and Veterinary Medicine. Grant had a thirst for learning and eventually narrowed his majors to: Music, Humanities and Art History. Though he had a desire to be a Veterinarian because of his love for animals, he decided to pursue his love for music instead and adopted several cats he could love and care for, fulfilling both desires. Grant's plan to continue his education to earn his Ph.D was detoured when he got a job at Grinnell's Piano Store to align with his college schedule, where he sold pianos and organs for 6 years. His sales career was very successful and he eventually took over the store's Steinway franchise just before Grinnell's closed. He and two other employees then decided to open their own store together and the new team was formed – an expert piano technician, the head of the warehouse and office management, and himself, who would handle sales. So, in 1978 Grant opened his own store called Pianoworks where he and his team provided Steinway sales and rentals and other concert quality pianos until 2008. During those years, Grant's store became THE “go to” store for 90% of the vendors in Detroit! His store provided rentals and repair service to an array of high-level clients: The Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Institute of Arts, Fox Theatre, Fisher Theatre, Masonic Temple, Music Hall, and well-known restaurants such as Joe Muer's and the stately Whitney.

He also worked with many hotels and churches as well as heads of major companies: Michigan Bell/Ameritech, Crain Communications and Ford among others. In addition, he provided weekly piano rentals for all 17 Hudson's department stores. His store, Piano Works, was a busy store for many years! Though Grant enjoyed selling, he wanted to include his love for teaching in his line of work, so he began to educate customers about the pianos they wanted to buy. “I think of myself as an educator or an expert on pianos,” he said, “rather than just a salesperson.” He went on to explain that he enjoyed teaching customers about the quality of the piano, what it was made of, and how it was made so his customers could purchase the best instrument at the best value! “People want value,” he said. “Value is when the quality of the piano is greater than the price!” He went on to add that a piano's value can change over the years depending on the changes that the manufacturers decide to make their instruments. So, Grant's goal is to help a customers purchase the best instrument that will hold its value for many years, and he educates his customers about three main elements: the piano's design, the quality of materials, and how it was made, whether it was hand-crafted or assembly-line made. “A quality instrument will take you further,” Grant said. “It can offer options you may not even know you are lacking .” As Russian pianist Vladislav Kovalsky said, “Some pianos are made to work well as actions, but a real piano is an instrument with soul!”

After 30 years of owning a successful piano store, Grant's pathway was again diverted when his store's landlord passed away and he had to find a new store location. The answer came through a business acquaintance who had opened a store of his own, The Piano Place. He invited Grant to join his Piano Works company under the umbrella of The Piano Place, and Grant eventually merged with the store. He soon become the top Sales Educator and Manager where he has once again built a successful and thriving career for many years educating customers about the best quality and value on the instruments they want to buy!

“I like to compare pianos to cars,” he said, “to help customers understand the value of an instrument.” He went on to compare an Italian-made Fazioli piano with a Lamborghini or a Ferrari, or a Steinway with a Cadillac or Lincoln. “There are many quality instruments!” he stated. Grant's customers are very happy with their purchases because they know they are getting the best quality instrument and value for their money! “Every home should have a piano,” he said, and reminisced that years ago, many homes had a piano in the living room where family and friends would gather together over music and song. He went to note that over this past year, people have been re-evaluating their lives and that some customers want to return to those days of having a piano in their home as a way to bring people together! What are the benefits of owning a piano? “Pianos are good for the brain,” Grant said, and added that playing the piano helps to keep fingers flexible, and is an emotional outlet that helps lift a person's spirit and provide an avenue for creativity. Grant would know about all the benefits since he is an educator and an expert on pianos! So, if you are in the market for a new piano, call Grant! He will make sure that you get the best instrument at the best value!




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