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Historic Denton, Cottier & Daniels Piano Store Shuts Its Doors After Nearly Two Centuries

by Madonna

In a bittersweet farewell, Denton, Cottier & Daniels, a piano store with a legacy spanning nearly two centuries, has closed its doors, marking the end of an era in the Buffalo Niagara region.

Founded in 1827, the store stood as one of the region’s enduring retailers until its closure on Wednesday. The emotional significance of this moment was particularly poignant for Michelle Trimper and her brother, James, who inherited the store following their father James Sr.’s passing in November.

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Reflecting on the rapid sequence of events, Michelle Trimper expressed disbelief, saying, “It doesn’t even really seem real because everything went so fast.” Despite their father’s intermittent bouts of illness over the past few years, his resilience had become routine, leading the family to believe he would continue managing the store.

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However, even a business with a nearly 200-year history couldn’t escape the impact of changing times. The piano industry, experiencing a prolonged decline, faced a severe blow during the COVID-19 pandemic. Shutdowns not only affected several piano dealers but also temporarily halted the store’s lucrative school and church business.

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Michelle Trimper noted the shift in consumer trends, saying, “Back in the day, there used to be a piano in every home. Now there’s a lot of people putting out free pianos on the internet, but they’re free for a reason.”

The sentiment of closure was described as “bittersweet” by Trimper, who, along with her brother, started working at the store at the age of 14. Expressing love for their work and the inevitable missing of their father, she added, “We love what we do and we miss my dad. I’m gonna miss working with my brother every day.”

Denton, Cottier & Daniels’ storied history began in 1827 when Englishman James D. Sheppard brought a piano to Buffalo on a mule-drawn boat down the Erie Canal. Over the years, the store relocated several times, adapting to the changing landscape, until its final location at 460 Dodge Road in Getzville, where it bid farewell this week.

James Sr., deeply passionate about family, church, and music, devoted his life to the store. Starting on the accordion, he transitioned to playing the organ in clubs, and eventually, his love for music became intertwined with his career at the store. Despite facing challenges, he maintained the business, driven by his dedication to music and the community.

As the Trimper siblings reminisce about the store’s vibrant history, they find solace in cherished memories, like the time James’s dog unexpectedly joined a piano recital, creating an unexpected and memorable moment amid the store’s rich legacy.

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