Mitchell Piano Works Travels Full Circle
Submitted by Fritz Menzel
Multimedia artist and family friend
Music. It is perhaps the most beloved human invention. Love. It is surely the most powerful human emotion.
Mitchell Piano Works is the direct result of combining the two. Now, owners Ted & Mary Ellen Mitchell—along with their family and the Central Wisconsin community of artists and music enthusiasts—celebrate the couple’s 40 years in business as they prepare to embark upon their next journey, retirement.
In 1976, Ted & Mary Ellen, students at UW-Stevens Point and already accomplished pianists, also shared a fascination and admiration for the instruments and technology involved. Ted interned with renowned local piano tuner, Wenzel Albrecht, and received further tutelage from UWSP piano technician, Tom Rodgers, who encouraged Ted to join the Piano Technicians Guild to continue his studies, with his eventual attainment of the Registered Piano Technician status.
With the couple foreseeing a bright future together, Mary Ellen also chose to further develop her business acumen. Together, they established a modest piano tuning and refurbishing operation that would evolve into one of the most highly regarded music businesses in Wisconsin.
By 1978, they had mortgaged their worldly possessions for a home on Plover Street with a garage as their workshop. Just 5 years later, they purchased a modest warehouse/retail site at the nearby west end of Wisconsin Street, steadily enabling them to attract a growing list of individual, family and institutional clientele. Their parental plans also flourished with daughter, Erin, and two sons, Danny and Matthew. All three are talented musicians, with Danny a professional Nashville singer/songwriter and now the keyboardist for country star Miranda Lambert, Erin an accomplished pianist & math teacher, and Matthew a stellar drummer and budding entrepreneur.
In 2003, having outgrown their original site, Mitchell Piano Works built and opened their high visibility retail store at 3201 Main Street, Stevens Point. Come present day, it is a busy place for musicians of all stripes and levels to explore, test, learn, rent, and purchase instruments ranging from budget-friendly electronic to world renowned acoustic pianos. Now, all good things must come to an end.
“This will be a great opportunity for customers old and new,” Mary Ellen noted, as their large remaining inventory of new and used pianos, keyboards, print music, and accessories are being offered at big retirement discounts through their closing on December 30th.
The Mitchells plan to continue to be engaged in community music initiatives, and will also be partnering with Heid Music during their transition to a retail music store in Stevens Point.
“We are very excited that Heid Music will continue our legacy of good service and quality musical products, and we look forward to helping them as the “torch is passed.”
Ted & Mary Ellen Mitchell now count themselves among the fortunate who spend their lives doing what they love with those they love. We should all be so lucky.