We've caught up with another Take it away retailer to see what life is like in their shop and find out more about what they sell. This month we spoke to Chris from Handel Pianos and Accordions. He tells us about famous faces, bestselling instruments and being asked to part exchange a hoover for an accordion!
Can you tell us a bit about your store?
We are specialist retailers in Pianos and Accordions and associated services such as restoration and tuning.
The business goes back four generations to my Great Grandfather Handel Lovell who was a piano and accordion teacher and composer. It wasn't until my Grandfather Coe Lovell had his own shop in Dulwich, London that the retail side of the business got going. We are now based in Sunningdale, Berkshire and Rochdale in Lancashire
Do you have any exciting projects or events coming up?
Having recently become one of only 6 UK Bosendorfer piano dealers, we are preparing for a number of events to help promote these fabulous instruments, including supporting the Woking Young Musicians of the Year.
Which instrument is your bestseller?
We sell a lot of pre-owned, restored pianos and accordions, but we have recently been doing well with both Yamaha and Steinmayer pianos as well as a wide range of accordions from Italy, Germany and of course, China.
Have you ever had any unusual/interesting questions from customers?
When I was working in the Rochdale shop some years ago, we received a letter from a customer interested in buying an accordion. He wanted to know if we would be willing to take in way of part exchange, a five bar electric fire and his old Hoover! Unfortunately we were unable to except his request.
Have you ever had any famous musicians use your shop?
We have had many famous musicians come through our doors over the years, but we have to be careful naming names! Most memorable was when a very well known entertainer and accordionist needed our help with an accordion for an up and coming project.
To the evident surprise and delight of another accordion customer, he proceeded to play, sing along and demonstrate all the accordions she was interested in buying. After a couple hours demonstrating I'm pleased to say that a sale was made (and he didn't even ask for any commission!).
What's the best thing about working in a music shop?
The best thing about working in a music shop is that it doesn't feel like work. It really is a fantastic job being able to help customers choose the right instrument for them. It is such a personal thing, choosing an instrument, that you need to take time finding out what is the best instrument for each and every customer.
It is not a high pressure sales situation; you are giving every customer your guidance so they can make an informed choice of which instrument they should purchase.
What are your thoughts on the Take it away scheme?
The Take it away scheme has been a fantastic tool for us, helping to facilitate funding for many of our customers. It allows them simply to be able to afford to buy an instrument in the first place, or for them to be able to afford a more expensive but preferred instrument, that they would otherwise not be able to afford.