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Piano Retailer Returns to Main Street

Economy put a hold on Colton Piano Gallery for three years; now owners, mindful of downtown's Neiman Marcus example, are confident.

Like a sonata in which the theme is introduced and comes tinkling back at the end in a high piano register, Colton Piano Gallery is back on Main Street.

The piano retailer took a 3+-year recession hiatus in Walnut Creek while continuing to operate a big store in San Jose.

"It's the time to expand," said owner Dave Gatt. "We feel confident that we're past the bottom of the trough." The potential of downtown Walnut Creek looks bright, said Gatt, made confident by the investment of a major retailer — Neiman Marcus — in opening recently at Broadway Plaza.

Colton Piano Gallery is at 1539 North Main St., across the street from the Stadium Pub, several blocks north of Colton's former North Main Street location. That location looked wrong when the economy turned a decade ago, leaving empty space surrounding the piano store, co-owner Ron McCracken said. In 2001, Colton was the largest piano retailer in the Bay Area, with six stores.

The store had a soft Walnut Creek (re)opening in December, and is making plans for a grand opening soon.

"We provide a low-pressure environment and we can educate our clientele, which is the best way to do business," said McCracken.

"When the economy turns you have to adapt," said Gatt. "We're focused on the highest value product at the best price."

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