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I Love Dayton: BHA Piano Center creating sweet music for 70 years

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) - It's hard to miss the iconic building near the corner of S. Patterson Blvd. and W. Apple St. BHA Piano Center's sign, like its 70-year legacy, is epic.

"We have the ability to change," said Bob Royer, the second-generation owner and president of BHA. "Dad went from TV and appliances, we sold billiards, but we've always had music." 

Bob Royer's father, Emmert Royer, started the business in 1949, several years after returning home from WWII. Bob joined after graduating college in 1974 and fully took over operations when Emmert passed away several years ago. The musically inclined family not only promoted and worked in the piano business; all of the members were passionate players.

"When we would play a song, my mom would be on the organ, my dad on the piano, my sister on the clarinet, I played the saxophone. I wish I had a tape of that. They just wanted to have fun with music," Bob Royer explained.

Over the years, the musical selection attracted traveling musicians, celebrities and top executives of Dayton's Fortune 500 companies. Despite the high-end sales, Royer said his father firmly believed in making pianos affordable and accessible, without sacrificing quality.

"We want to get people -- everyone, it doesn't matter -- playing something that they really want to," he said.

The elder Royer also refused to relocate to more lucrative markets, even during Dayton's economic downturn.

"He goes, 'No. I'm happy with Dayton, Ohio. This is where I grew up,'" Bob Royer said.

Since the advent of the internet, BHA Piano Center has become a worldwide company. Royer said it's delivered pianos to every U.S. state, with the exception of Rhode Island and Idaho. The physical store hosts private music teachers offering lessons on a variety of instruments, and Royer rents space for bands to rehearse and record music.

He thanks the Dayton community for its support over 7 decades, crediting loyal customers and local musicians for sustaining BHA's success. Royer wants to continue his father's legacy, while also adapting to changing times.

"[I want to] just keep it going, keep it fresh and have fun with it," he said.

You can find videos, piano selection and information about lessons at BHA Piano Center by clicking here.

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