James Harding of Riverton Piano Co. loves what he does for a living. He can play extravagant pianos all day and occasionally rub shoulders with the likes of Jim Brickman.
“It’s one of those jobs that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” said Harding, the company’s director of sales and marketing.
Harding runs the newer store in Peoria, as well as the location in Scottsdale. The Peoria piano store features the legendary Bosendorfer Artisan Pianos, Yamaha Premium Pianos, used Steinway pianos, Yamaha Pianos, Baldwin Pianos, Schumann Pianos, Roland Digital Pianos, Disklaviers, Hybrids, Silent Pianos Clavinovas, piano labs, print music, piano lessons and a 95-seat recital hall.
“The Bosendorfer is a handcrafted Viennese piano,” he said. “They have some of the most expensive pianos in the world. In our Scottsdale store, we have a piano that’s about $320,000 in the back room. I have one that’s about $280,000.
“We have some high-end pianos for the ultra-high-end buyer. But then, of course, Yamaha offers a variety of things, from handcrafted pianos all the way down to basic entry-level home pianos.”
Harding said new pianos start at about $3,000 and digital pianos at $800. The company also offers rental programs from $30 a month.
“Even if you don’t have the massive budget for a handcrafted European piano, you can still come in and find something great for your home,” he said.
Riverton has been in business since 1968, when Hal Rindlisbacher, a popular band teacher in Riverton, Utah, noticed his students’ instruments were in terrible shape.
“While working full time as a band director, which is quite a taxing job, in the evenings, he started doing instrument repairs to help all the kids.
“After a while, he started realizing he has to carry resin, reeds and some of the other basics. From there, the retail side of the business began. We’ve now become one of the largest regional piano companies in the Western United States.”
Riverton has seven stores in the United States, including the two in the Valley. It is still family owned- and -operated and really comfortable to work for.
Staff chose the Peoria location two years ago because it was centrally located in the West Valley, being right off the Loop 101 near State Farm Stadium.
“There’s a large group of potential clients down in the Goodyear/Avondale area,” he said.
“We’re close enough to folks in Glendale and Peoria. This is a nice, central location for most of the clients. So far, we’ve seen clients from all those communities.”
Harding has been playing piano since he was 4, following in the footsteps of his cousin and friend. He attended a local music school and then studied voice and piano in college. Now he’s at Riverton.
He finds it joyful to have concerts in Riverton’s recital hall. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, performances were held there regularly. In the last year, though, they invited piano teachers and their students — albeit one by one — to record a performance for friends and family. Strict protocols were adhered to.
“We would add applause, put a little intro in there, and put their names in the credits at the end. They felt like it was an actual performance,” Harding said.