BOSTON HEIGHTS — A local businessman is celebrating 40 years of selling pianos.
And who could have known he would be doing that in a former Harley-Davidson dealership?
Ted Good, the owner and CEO of Steinway Piano Gallery Cleveland, located at 334 E. Hines Hill Road, began his career in 1978 when he purchased Grecni Music Co. and then, with his wife, Teresa, founded the T.S. Good Church Organ Co. at age 26.
In 1983, Good became the youngest person ever to be appointed as a Steinway & Sons dealer. He was 31. Six years later, with his purchase of the historic Robinson Mansion in Akron, Good was granted the first license ever permitted by Steinway for the use of the name "Steinway Hall" outside of the Steinway & Sons company and family.
In 1996 he purchased the Cleveland Steinway dealership, which rounded out his representation to the entire Northeast Ohio area and included clients such as Oberlin Conservatory, the Cleveland Institute of Music and The Cleveland Orchestra.
Today, Good’s Steinway Piano Gallery is the only licensed dealer of Steinway and Steinway-designed pianos in Ohio. In addition to Steinways, Good sells Boston and Essex pianos.
The business moved into its current home — the former Liberty Harley-Davidson dealership — five years ago.
"The sense of responsibility to the art and music community by my parents has been the driving force for our company’s longevity," said their daughter, Catherine Good Brulport, vice president of Steinway Piano Gallery Cleveland. "For them to have the vision and drive to do this for 40 years is something to be celebrated."
Good said the late Henry Z. Steinway was a friend and mentor. Mr. Steinway was the last president of the company who was a family member, he said, and he often visited Cleveland.
"To give you an idea how close we were," Good said, "my daughter Catherine literally grew up bouncing on his knee."
Good also credited the sales trainers with Steinway and Sons for being a positive influence on him and his business.
"Catherine is the best example of that," he said. In the past year he’s hired three new employees who have specialized jobs working with schools and houses of worship.
Bryan Finnegan, a resident of Cuyahoga Falls, has worked with Good for 30 years. Finnegan heads up his residential sales department and has experience in all areas. His other longtime employee is Flo Kulak, who is in charge of the office. She has been with the Piano Gallery 25 years.
Steinway Piano Gallery has seven employees, all full time. T.S. Good Church Organ Co., located at the same address, has one employee, also full time. T.S. Good designs and installs church organs.
At any given time, there are 75-80 pianos in stock, he said, with many on display in front and many more in back. These pianos are new and used. Almost every piano he sells has a trade-in.
"Pianos last a long time. They don’t go away and it’s hard to get rid of them," Good said. "People certainly don’t buy a Steinway as their first piano … So, everybody has something to trade in. We have every brand."
Both Ted and Teresa Good have served as president of the Cleveland International Piano Competition, an organization for which they now hold the roles of "Lifetime Director." He also serves on the Akron Symphony Board of Trustees.
True music lovers, the Goods have been season subscribers to every symphony in the Northeast Ohio area since 1983. They attend more than 80 concerts a year and have supported and befriended many artists.
Although he doesn’t play the piano, Good said he loves listening to it and he’s always amazed by those who play it well.
"I really love pianists," Good said. "The things they do with this instruments … I’ve watched them do it for 40 years and I can’t believe a human being can do it. Until you see a classical pianist playing the great works up close … It’s an unbelievable experience."
Steinway Piano Gallery can be reached at 800-356-0437. The website is www.steinway-ohio.com.
For more information, visit www.steinway.com.
Reporter Steve Wiandt can be reached at 330-541-9420, firstname.lastname@example.org or @SteveWiandt_RPC.