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Fort Pitt Piano Company: A Family Tradition of Encouraging Family Tradition

by Jenn Lombari • in
  • Features
  • January 2018
• Created: January 29, 2018

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s newest and most luxurious piano retailer, Fort Pitt Piano Company, celebrated their grand opening on November 1, 2017.

Local business owners, musicians, music teachers, and residents celebrated the new business by visiting the new store at 8872 Covenant Ave.

To say Fort Pitt Piano Co. has set the bar high for luxury products matched with luxury customer service would be an understatement. Fort Pitt Piano Co. is owned by Joe Ravita, 38, a resident of Mt. Lebanon. Ravita has also owned Empire Music in Mt. Lebanon for the last 15 years. Empire Music is known for lessons, repairs, and carrying high-end guitars by brands such as Taylor, Martin, Fender, Gibson, and more. Joe’s father, also Joe Ravita, 62, has been in the local retail music business specializing in customer service and repairs for decades, and is now the manager of Fort Pitt Piano Co. Baby grand and full grand Steinways fill the 3,500 square foot space alongside the smaller Steinway models, Boston, and Essex. They even stock the newer

Steinway model, The Spiro. The Spiro is a full-sized Steinway grand player piano that connects to a tablet or iPad. An app allows you to play back performances from famous pianists as if they are sitting at the piano in your home performing for you and your guests.

The experience upon entering Fort Pitt Piano Co. is extremely important to owner, Joe Ravita. When you walk into the store, you have entered an environment that has been purposely prepared for music lovers to feel comfortable: a place to get acquainted with the pianos. High ceilings, chandeliers, and polished concrete floors offer a lush and vibrant feel to the showroom. Ravita likes to visit other music stores while traveling or on vacation and he truly believes that presentation just isn’t enough. He explains how he feels that businesses struggle because they think it’s all about the instrument, but it’s really about providing the best product in a high-end environment: “You can have the perfect item and the environment and presentation can ‘dumb it down.’” Ravita feels a lot of independent dealers struggle with this and if they started here, it would really make a big difference.

Ravita goes on to passionately explain that, “The most important thing across both of my businesses is, we’re doing what I think everyone else is afraid to do. If you walk into a store and there’s a bunch of $500 guitars, you can buy that anywhere. I love making our business into a space that is clearly defined. When people walk in, they know what you’re doing is paramount! You walk into the piano store and you get a vibe that we’re going to give you premium service, business on the high-end, even though everything is not the most expensive, we don’t provide the cheapest either. So if you want to buy a $10,000 piano, we can service you, but we’re going to treat you like you’re buying high-end. We’re aiming for high-end. Sometimes people treat down to a price range. We want you to feel like you just walked into the nicest hotel or the nicest restaurant you ever walked into. We can’t do that with low end products. We’ll carry the best $5,000 upright you can find. When a customer is treated well, it makes them feel like they are part of it – an experience so good that the customer feels like they owe us money!” he laughs.

He compares it to a time he and a friend bought tickets to see The Rolling Stones. If you’ve ever looked into buying tickets to see the Stones, you know that the costs can amount to well over thousands of dollars. Ravita and his friend bought the tickets with the intention of selling them and later getting seats they could actually afford. Well, even though they weren’t in the front row and the tickets they ended up with weren’t the most expensive, the experience was so incredible and unforgettable that they felt like they owed the band money. It was a “life changing experience,” he says. He wants his customers to feel that, too. Ravita says, “If you leave like that, you’re not thinking of how much money you just spent. You have this amazing new piano and a place that will take care of you, that won’t hang you out to dry. Hospitality comes first – everything else works itself out later. Super premium, one-on-one service with the customer is most important, so that the customer can enjoy the whole experience of buying that luxury item.”

“A piano is a generational investment,” explains Ravita. “Our customers aren’t looking for a $500 piano or something that may be offered for free on Craigslist. These are customers that want to make an investment that will become a family heirloom – something that will be passed on from generation to generation. We’re offering them the finest choice at a professional level. People who are at the higher end of the income chain are shopping for the best cars, the best watches; they have a nice house… They don’t want to put just anything in their home, they want an heirloom piece for generations.” A piano can last over a hundred years if it’s taken care of properly. “

As Steinway & Sons are about to celebrate their 165th year in early 2018, dealers like Fort Pitt Piano Company are ensuring the brand’s impressive legacy will continue for the foreseeable future.

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