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PIANO MAN: Nordstrom’s loss is El Gaucho’s gain

Letter by Bambi Lin Litchman, Tacoma on Jan. 30, 2013 at 4:59 pm | No Comments »
January 30, 2013 4:59 pm

Like many, I was stunned and saddened to learn that Nordstrom terminated Juan Perez, its piano player of 27 years, with one week’s notice. Until I read the article (TNT, 1-28), I didn’t know of his remarkable story as an immigrant to this country.

Perez is a marvelous musician with an extraordinarily good spirit who brought remarkable elegance to shopping at Nordstrom. Many have described how his lovely music and genuinely beautiful smile made their day when they visited the store. There is a good reason why he is a Tacoma icon.

I first encountered Perez when I moved to Tacoma to attend law school in the 1990s. Law school inspired many a wicked bad mood, but hearing Perez play and seeing his smile always elevated my spirit like a tonic. If I was in a bad mood, I’d feel better. If I was in a good mood, I’d still feel even better. Worked like a charm every time.

After learning of his termination, I realized that I’ve shopped in many U.S. cities and in countries around the world, yet never encountered the same beautiful ambiance that he created for Nordstrom with his music and personality.

What an absolute delight it was to learn (TNT, 1-30) that El Gaucho has hired Perez for a three-month trial. Congrats to him, and also to El Gaucho for a great decision. I look forward to my first visit to El Gaucho.

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