For the City Times
Mitchell Piano Works is closing on Dec. 30.
Owners Ted and Mary Ellen Mitchell — along with their family and the Central Wisconsin community of artists and music enthusiasts — are celebrating their 40 years in business as they prepare to embark upon their next journey, retirement.
In 1976, Ted and Mary Ellen, students at UW-Stevens Point and already accomplished pianists, also shared a fascination and admiration for the instruments and technology involved. Ted interned with renowned local piano tuner, Wenzel Albrecht, and received further tutelage from UWSP piano technician, Tom Rodgers, who encouraged Ted to join the Piano Technicians Guild to continue his studies, with his eventual attainment of the Registered Piano Technician status.
With the couple foreseeing a bright future together, Mary Ellen also chose to further develop her business acumen. Together, they established a modest piano tuning and refurbishing operation that would evolve into one of the most highly regarded music businesses in Wisconsin.
By 1978, they mortgaged their worldly possessions for a home on Plover St., with a garage as their workshop. Five years later, they purchased a modest warehouse/retail site at the nearby west end of Wisconsin St., steadily enabling them to attract a growing list of individual, family and institutional clientele.
In the process, their parental plans also flourished with daughter, Erin, and two sons, Danny and Matthew. All three are talented musicians, with Danny a professional Nashville singer/songwriter and now the keyboardist for country star Miranda Lambert, Erin an accomplished pianist and math teacher, and Matthew a stellar drummer and budding entrepreneur.
In 2003, having outgrown their original site, Mitchell Piano Works built and opened their high visibility retail store at 3201 Main St. in Stevens Point. Today, it is a busy place for musicians of all stripes and levels to explore, test, learn, rent, and purchase instruments ranging from budget-friendly electronic to world renowned acoustic pianos.
But now, it’s coming to an end.
“This will be a great opportunity for customers old and new,” Mary Ellen Mitchell said.
The Mitchell’s plan to continue to be engaged in community music initiatives, and will also be partnering with Heid Music during their transition to a retail music store in Stevens Point.