In 1978, I was completing my degree in Architecture
at UC Berkeley, but still had a great love for pianos. My brother
John had reestablished Callahan Piano Service and was tuning pianos
full time, assisted by our brother Michael. We were often asked by
customers and acquaintances for help in finding a good used piano.
Dad was considering a career change and we felt between the four of
us we had the skills and knowledge to create a first rate used piano
business. On October 1, 1978, we rented a garage (just 100 yards from
our current location), bought an old Melville Clark upright piano,
and opened for business as Piedmont Piano Company, a partnership between
Jim Sr., Jim Jr., John, and Michael Callahan.
We discovered immediately that there was a great demand
for good used pianos in Northern California. We scoured the area for
quality pianos made before World War II that we could refurbish into
long lasting instruments for our ever increasing customer base. From
the start we specialized in vintage Steinways, and restored and sold
hundreds of these superlative uprights and grands in our early years
in business. We traveled across the US and to Europe and Japan to
find the finest woods, felts, parts, and supplies to restore these
instruments to their highest level. The response from our customers
was overwhelming: we soon became Northern California’s top dealer
for quality used pianos.
Move and Other Changes
In 1980 we moved to our first storefront location at
4260 Piedmont Ave. It was around this time my father accepted the
position of personnel manager at the Symphony and assumed the role
of silent partner in our family business. Shortly thereafter John
and Michael left Piedmont Piano Company and were joined by our youngest
brother Matt to concentrate fully on Callahan Piano Service, which
was experiencing a great increase in demand for tuning, repairs, and
rebuilding. Since that time Piedmont Piano Company and Callahan Piano
Service have existed as separate businesses working closely together
to provide the finest in pianos and piano service.
Pianos, Lessons, and Expansion
In 1984 we had the opportunity to acquire Mills Music,
the original Yamaha piano dealership in the East Bay. We had always
had great respect for Yamaha and jumped at the chance to be the factory
authorized dealer for these fine acoustic and digital pianos. Carrying
new pianos necessitated a move to larger quarters, and in 1985 we
relocated to 4382 Piedmont Ave., our location ever since. Included
with the assets of Mills Music was the Yamaha Music School, known today as our Harmony Road Music School, which over the years
has taught music to thousands of students of all ages.
Piano Company in the 21st Century
2002 we were proud to become one of just five dealers in the US for
Fazioli pianos, hand crafted in Italy and among the finest pianos in the world. In 2007 we bacame the authorized Northern California agent for Bechstein Pianos, hand built in Berlin since 1853. And in 2009 we were proud to be authorized as the Northern California representative for the exceptional American made Mason & Hamlin pianos. With the
addition of these world class instruments we feel we truly have the
finest selection of pianos available anywhere. On October 1, 2008 we celebrated 30 years in business.
Concerts at the piano store
In December 2004 We opened a second location on Third Street in San Francisco. It was at this venue that we began hosting student recitals for local teachers. Word soon spread that a new venue was available for performance with a wonderful ambience and the world's best pianos, and soon great jazz and classical artists were scheduling concerts at the store. We presented over 100 concerts in San Francisco over a three year period.
A New Home
A dramatic rent increase and the troubled economy forced us to close our San Francisco location in 2008, but we immediately began searching for a new East Bay location that would accommodate our expanded inventory, growing music school, and our concert series. We were thrilled to find the historic 1946 art deco California Furniture Company building available in Oakland's developing Uptown Arts & Entertainment district, and after a long negotiation and with the help of a loan from the SBA we were able to purchase the building in 2009. After an extensive rennovation we opened our beautiful new home in January 2010.
As we look to the future we will
continue to offer the finest
in pianos, rentals, and lessons to our ever increasing family
of customers. Each day brings new and interesting experiences and
challenges within the Bay Area music community, and we look forward
to our continuing role in supporting the joy of making music.