If you wanted a grand piano or organ for “good value”, where would you go?Chris Marshall Pianos & Organs – of course!
Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Piano and Organ extraordinaire Chris Marshall and his wife Donna, would sell his wares to the people of Sydney. From his store in Mt Druitt, which later closed in 1982 due to partner dissolvement:
to his large Villawood (and later, Leichardt) warehouse.
205 Woodville Road, Villawood – the old location.
What made his selling technique so outrageous was his speed-talking of heavily discounted pianos and organs – which made it a mystery on how he could afford such a bargain – by including sweetners with purchases, such as watches and BMX bikes that resembled falling off the back of a truck. Some things are too good to be true.
Marshall had become a big business personality, having features written about him.
At one stage, he placed a newspaper ad stating his business will reimburse your cab charge if you took a taxi out to his factory, during the ‘great petrol shortage’ of 1990… even if you didn’t buy any product of his.
Down the track, claims of dealings from unsatisfied customers came to fruition. In 1992, more cracks appeared, including the Australian Securities Commission being asked by then NSW Minister for Consumer Affairs Kerry Chikarovski, to find out what was going on behind the scenes of the business.
Eventually, Marshall suddenly closed up his Piano and Organ factory, and turned up online in the late 2000s, with a (now defunct) ChrisMarshall.com.au domain, selling his wares from a Merrylands location.
Then, he just disappeared.
In 2012, ChrisMarshall.com.au shut down, roughly around the same time A Current Affair showed a story on Marshall, saying he was ‘up to no good‘. – sadly, the video and transcript of said story is no longer available. But after a Google search, there are reviews and stories of various interactions and experiences, such as this article on DNADigital.
In 2015, a YouTube account posted two videos, showing what appears to be Marshall, tickling the ivory, claiming to be filmed at a restaurant in the Philippines (info located at very end of video).
So, where is he now? No idea. Wherever he is, he’d be celebrating his 80th birthday (born 1937) – so give him a rock watch for a present. They’re great quality.