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Trombino Piano to shut Downtown store

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By Bob Karlovits

Published: Friday, Oct. 14, 2011

Trombino Piano Gallerie, a Downtown store that was home to recitals as well as sales, will be closing and its Steinway dealership passed to another dealer.

Owner and founder Robert Trombino is closing the store as a way of scaling back the business. He will keep the other three Trombino Music Centers — in Mt. Lebanon, Greensburg and Belle Vernon — open, but they will deal mostly in sales of Lowrey Organs, along with some other piano brands.

"It's time to ease up a little," says Trombino, 85, who owns the business with his wife, Norma Jean. "I've been working since I was 13 and we'd like to get to our house in Florida a little more."

It took him about a year to decide on the move, he says.

The company was founded 46 years ago, says spokeswoman Patty Neeper, and the Downtown site on Penn Avenue opened in 1985, when Steinway awarded Trombino the dealership.

Besides being a sales site, Trombino says, the firm had recitals and master classes at the store with virtuosos such as Emanuel Ax and Lang Lang. The company also supplied rental Steinways for performances around the area, jobs Trombino expects the new Steinway dealer will have to shoulder.

Neeper says such efforts make the Steinway dealership a "huge responsibility," and this business pull-back will put Trombino in a much calmer position. Lowrey sales also include educational programs and programs for amateur musicians in the store.

Trombino says his contract with Steinway ends Nov. 30, and he believes the store will remain open until the end of the year as the inventory is sold. He says he plans to sell the building, the purchase of which was the beginning of the dealership.

"I was at a music conference and talked to a Lowrey dealer who started working with Steinway," he says. "I talked to Steinway and they said, 'Buy a building, and we'll talk.' I did, and the rest is history."

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