Dennis Hagerty, president of Keyboard Concepts, which runs David L. Abell Fine Pianos on Beverly Boulevard, foresaw the recession about two years ago. "We always feel it first in our business," he said, adding that he's had to let go of or not replace about six employees in a company of roughly 35, and sales in each of his five stores have dipped by 20% to 40%.
But the recession, swinging into full effect this last year, really slammed the final nail into the coffin, or piano top as it were, for Hagerty's most legendary store. The ivy-covered Abell shop, which has sold pianos for nearly 54 years to a celebrity clientele including Frank Sinatra, Quincy Jones, Tony Bennett, Stevie Wonder, Elton John, Jackson Browne, Andre Previn and Ronald Reagan, is closing. All of Abell's upscale, exclusive stock -- Yamaha grands, Bosendorfers and vintage Steinways -- is on deep discount. Which is good news for anyone who's ever fantasized about shoving a baby grand into his or her apartment foyer, but bad news for those who want to uphold the romantic old guard of piano stores.
It's possible that the Abell space might reopen as another Keyboard Concepts, which has outposts in Van Nuys, Agoura Hills, Santa Monica and Tustin, but Abell's, as we know it, will be gone after the last piano is sold.