Brian Whiton and his girlfriend Betty Chen in the new "Big Wrench" on Smith Street
This is something different for Smith Street. Between all the restaurants, bars and boutiques, a new piano center will soon open at 177 Smith Street in the space occupied until recently by Home & Haven, a home decor boutique.
"Big Wrench" was conceived by Brian Whiton, a piano technician and partner/musician Mingo Tull. Many in the community will remember Mingo as the owner of the former Musicians General Store on Court Street.
Together, Brian and Mingo will be offering not only piano sales, but also rentals, tuning and repair services. In addition, a small back room will be set aside as a studio for lessons.
When I stopped by the store on Monday, Brian told me that he expected to open by the end of the month. Why the name "Big Wrench"? It's an homage of sorts to Brian's grandfather. On the new website, he explains: "My grandfather was a plumber by trade. I remember, when I was very young, being astounded by a giant six foot pipe wrench that hung in his shop. A wrench as big as a person! It is a colorful memory, and it relates my grandfather and everything I learned from him to my business."
With all the musicians, piano owners and kids taking lessons, I am sure Big Wrench will have plenty of business.