When Nancy Osborne and her photographer walked into Fresno Piano on Fresno and Ashlan in Central Fresno they met a guy who clearly just wanted to talk and play on of his pianos.
Jim Fishback loves this piano store, the sound of a piano and he enjoys selling them the young and old alike, "and they get into lessons and they have fun. They never thought they could do it. I've seen it change people's lives for the better. And that's rewarding."
This business was once called Fresno Piano & Organ. It opened in 1973. When Fishback bought it from the original owner in 2001 he renamed it 'Fresno Piano'.
He also increased its original size adding new show rooms along with exclusive sales of Steinway and Yamaha. And he created access for piano teachers and students.
But Tuesday's economy and a divorce led to selling the entire inventory and the store, "So it's really a combination of both things that led to the liquidation of the company."
A fact that is rippling through his any customers including the Fresno Philharmonic. Fishback assisted the organization in buying its Steinway concert piano. Don Reinhold is the Executive Director of the Fresno Philharmonic.
He credits Fishback with finding the orchestra a piano like none other. He adds that Fishback also volunteered on the board, kept the piano tuned and stored it for the non-profit.
The loss of Fresno Piano is a blow to the whole community, "When you have a major piano company like this go out of business, under any circumstances, it's a loss that is equal to losing a museum - to those of us in music."
The closing of the business also leaves the Philharmonic looking for a safe, temperature controlled storage place for its one hundred and twenty thousand dollar handmade Steinway concert piano.
But this may not be the last chapter in the story. Jim Fishback says Fresno Piano is closing he is hopeful he'll be able back to selling pianos one day. And we'll keep you posted. Meantime here are the details on the sale:
The liquidation is taking place on Friday & Saturday March 11-12 at the Fresno Piano showroom.
By appointment only: call 559-222-3194 - 4254 N. Fresno Ave, Fresno, Ca.
It will open to the public on Sunday March 13 from noon until 5 p.m.