Fifteen months after a fire gutted its previous Lee Highway storefront, Summit Pianos reopened Monday on Hixson Pike in the former home of an archery and stone business.
Ted Summitt, the second- generation owner of Chattanooga's oldest and largest piano retailer, said he bought the blue-roofed store that previously housed High Country Archery before its closing last year.
"We are still remodeling the store so our big grand reopening may be another month or so away, but we do have the inside redone, our pianos in place and our national guild auditions going on this week," Summit said. "It's our first day of being back in business after the fire last year and we're excited to be back in business."
Summitt said the new location at 3889 Hixson Pike is well suited for the piano retailer and his moving businesses — both Choo Choo Moving and Piano Moving Plus.
"We kind of like to think of it as music row because we're right between Giant Steps and Mountain Music," he said. "We've got music companies on either side of us within a block."
Summitt said the signature blue roof will be repainted and the 1-acre site provides more parking and space for both his piano retailing and the moving businesses than the company's former site.
Summitt said the insurance settlement from the fire last year helped pay for the loss of the pianos, instruments and music when the store at 6200 Lee Highway was destroyed in the January 2018 blaze.
Summitt Pianos was started by Ted Summitt Sr., a piano technician and tuner who took over the former Lansford Baldwin piano retailer in 1993. Lansford dates back more than a century and Summitt said when his father took over the business there were probably eight to 10 piano retailers in the Chattanooga market.
Today, there are only a couple of such retailers of pianos. Summitt sells both new and used pianos and offers music and piano moving services as well.
The business moved into its former site on Lee Highway owned by Pryor Bacon 31 years ago as one of the first commercial businesses in the area.
"We stayed there, in part, because we had a really good rental rate at $5 per square foot through the years, but after the fire and the rebuild of the facility, (Bacon) wanted the going rate on Lee Highway and we understood that so we were able to find this location which we bought and are now renovating," Summitt said.
The new location at 3889 Hixson Pike was built as a restaurant in 1959 and Shoney's Big Boy moved in about a decade later, Summit said. Through its history, the building has also housed a hair salon, bar, stone business and, most recently, an archery retail outlet.
Contact Dave Flessner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 757-6340.