Featured Stories

Other Pamplin Media Group sites

A little dazzle is a sound marketing tool

If there were a prize for gaudy downtown Portland window displays, Michelle Piano and Organ Co. on Southwest Fifth Avenue would sweep the competition with a display that has more sparkle than Liberace.

The rhinestone-encrusted Baldwin piano behind the glass did, in fact, belong to Liberace. The late showman played the 9-foot concert grand on tour and in his final performance at New York City's Radio City Music Hall.

Michelle sales director Gary Egger says Liberace selected it from the factory, then swathed it with Austrian rhinestones worth about $300,000.

The piano goes on limited store tours each year; Michelle Piano will have it until Jan. 13. Egger says it's been good for business, though many people are just curious.

'Not only do I feel like I'm the director of sales for the store, but I'm kind of a museum curator,' Egger says.

Ñ Nevill Eschen