Name: Larry Biernacki
Hometown: Highland Park
Name of business: Music Center of Deerfield
Describe what you do.
We are a full service music store selling and renting a wide variety of musical instruments, accessories, sheet music and books. We also offer private lessons in all instruments.
What sets you apart from similar businesses?
We cater to the school music student renting and selling them band and orchestra instruments. We service local schools from Chicago to Waukegan. We have the most complete repair department on the north shore. We repair instruments for most of the local schools and even do the work for the Navy band at Great Lakes. All schools and service personnel get substantial discounts.
What made you want to open this type of store?
I've been a professional musician most of my life and I feel that we have a lot to offer new and aspiring players. You know what they say, "Do what you like and you will never have to work another day in your life."
Why did you decide to open your business in Deerfield?
I have been at the Music Center since 1973. I started out teaching and moved to the sales part of the business. I eventually became store manager and purchased the store in 1991 from the previous owner.
Why did you pick this specific location/storefront?
It was already an established location. The Music Center started in 1964 and is one of the oldest businesses in Deerfield.
What obstacles did you find when you started?
Initially the main obstacle was getting a bank loan to purchase the business. Fortunately it was much easier in 1973 than it would be today.
If you could offer local officials one piece of advice to make their town more attractive to entrepreneurs, what would it be?
Lighten up on the regulations as far as trying to make everything look the same from an outside appearance perspective. A music store is very different from a car wash, and should be able to display signage in a way that suits our businesses.
What mistakes did you make?
Along the way we made a lot. Fortunately nothing that was not fixable. If you try to grow too fast it will eventually catch up with you.