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February 1, 2013 at 7:00 AM

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Nordstrom piano player removed

Juan Perez is a local icon

Nordstrom shocked Tacomans by suddenly terminating Juan Perez, its piano player of 27 years [“Nordstrom piano man plays his last tune,” NWWednesday, Jan. 30]. Many learned for the first time of his inspiring story as an immigrant to this country.

Perez is a marvelous musician with an extraordinarily good spirit who brought true elegance to Nordstrom. Many have described how his lovely music and genuinely beautiful smile made their day when they visited Nordstrom. Perez is a Tacoma icon for good reason.

I first encountered Perez when I moved from Seattle to Tacoma in the ’90s for law school. Law school inspired some wicked bad moods, 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 feel even better. Worked like magic.

After learning of his termination, I realized I’ve shopped in many U.S. cities and internationally, yet never encountered the same beautiful ambience that Perez created for Nordstrom with his music and personality.

How delightful to learn that Tacoma’s El Gaucho has hired Perez for a three-month trial! Congrats to them both. I look forward to my first visit.

--Bambi Lin Litchman, Tacoma

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