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Pickle Piano Co. In the News

Date:

October 26, 2000

Author:

Kat Zeman

Source:

Chicago Daily Herald

Section:

Neighbor, pg. 5

Headline:

Pickle Piano brings finest music to DuPage

More than a decade ago, there was a nameless piano store in Bloomingdale.

It was one of only eight of its kind in the country. Still, nobody could figure out what to name it.

Finally, about a month after it opened, an attorney walked through the door.

"You're going to be in a real pickle if you don't name it," he told the owners.

That did it. Owner Matt Bechteler liked the phrase, tossed a coin and made history.

The nameless building became Pickle Piano Company - an elite store that has successfully rebuilt and refinished pianos for 13 years.

"We're a very different kind of piano store," Bechteler said.

Only seven other stores in the nation are authorized to deal top notch pianos with names like Bechstein, Petrof and Weinbach.

Most piano stores deal only Korean and Japanese imports, which are less expensive.

While Pickle sells the big names, they also stock the cheaper versions.

Strolling through the store, a customer will see a Korean-built Weber piano for $800 placed a few feet from an $132,000 hand-crafted Bechstein.

Bechteler, who travels to Europe roughly five times a year on business, sells pianos from France, Italy, Ukraine, Germany, Korea and Japan.

But he doesn't think of himself as a business man. He thinks of himself as more of an artist.

"The most fascinating part of the business is the recipe for sound," he said. "Some instruments speak to your soul. I think it's an obsession."

Bechteler's obsession started when he was 9 years old. His grandfather taught him to play the piano and he studied piano performance in college.

He's studied with teachers from all over the world and even performed a few concerts before he opened up his business.

"I didn't wake up one day and say I want to do this. I got into it by osmosis," he said, noting that his business is much more than retail.

Up to 80 percent of his business is from referrals, and his customers vary, he said.

He deals pianos to the rich and famous as well as to average, middle-class families.

Like a true European, he offers people coffee and cigarettes when they walk through the door and doesn't hesitate to play the piano for them.

His staff is hand-picked from all over the world, and most of them are human piano encyclopedias. They restore, rebuild, re-finish, sell, buy and appraise pianos.

"Everything to do with a piano, we do it," he said.

However, most people don't know Bechteler also does the same for classical pipe organs - including some monster-sized ones for churches.

One of these organs stands at Trinity Lutheran Church in Roselle. It took Bechteler one year to build and two months to install, but the church now owns a giant pipe organ - all 38,000 pounds of it.

"Sometimes we get a little crazy," Bechteler said.

He is in the process of building similar-sized pipe organs for churches in Alabama, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

He's also traveling to Europe soon, checking out pipe organs in the Slovak Republic and the Czech Republic, and visiting Beethoven's grave in Vienna.

The nameless piano store has come a long way since its beginning, and Bechteler modestly sums his success up with just four words.

"It was an accident."




Pickle Piano Company
104 West Lake Street
Bloomingdale, IL 60108

Telephone: 630-894-2992
Fax: 630-894-2743
E-mail: questions@picklepiano.com


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