"“If all Maurice Unis did was to sell more pianos than anybody else in Portland,his contribution to the city’s cultural life would be considerable.”"
“My passion was to take pianos and make them great instruments,” says Maurice Unis, describing how he came to start Moe’s Pianos back in the mid-1970s. “I like physical work, so to maneuver a piano through a tough move, bring it back and repair it, and then deliver it and see the pleasure it can bring to a family: it was a good combination.”
In fact, Unis had grown up around pianos. His maternal grandfather, Maurice T. Schuster, a violinist and piano tuner, owned Acme Piano Company in Sellwood. Schuster loved his grandson’s interest and coached him in the selection and restoration of worthy instruments.
And for a brief time, Unis’s father had also run a piano shop on SE Belmont when he was just out of law school...before succumbing to his destiny as lawyer and judge...ultimately retiring from the Oregon Supreme Court as The Honorable Richard L. Unis.
Moe’s Pianos became Portland’s most recognized name in piano sales and service in the 1980s, and Unis was often consulted by piano retailers from all across the country who wanted his expertise.
Unis always claimed...about Moe’s back then and about Classic Pianos today... that there really is no secret: just give the buyer the widest possible choice, devote yourself to customer service, and be happy to take the same piano back on a trade-up — no matter how many years down the line.
In 1989 Unis sold Moe’s to Sherman & Clay and stayed on as general manager for six years before organizing Forte Marketing Group, a national company that produces event sales for major dealers and piano manufacturers across America.
Meanwhile, a fourth generation — Brian, Aaron, and Taylor — began taking a serious interest. From childhood, they’d watched their father disassemble, clean, repair and refinish pianos — in the shop, the family garage, and even in the living room. They, too, were hooked.