School relationships keep Music Center of Deerfield thriving
Owner of the Music Center of Deerfield, Larry Biernacki, is a guitarist at heart. | Joel Lerner~Sun-Times Media
NAME: Music Center of Deerfield
LOCATION: 811 N. Waukegan Road, Deerfield
CONTACT: (847) 945-1322, www.deerfieldmusic.com
HOURS: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday; closed Wednesday; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday (7 p.m. close in summer); 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday
Updated: September 3, 2012 12:50PM
In 1963, the Music Center of Deerfield opened and began offering area residents lessons in the accordion, among other instruments.
Larry Biernacki, who has owned the Music Center since 1991, said the accordion was popular in the 1960s.
“We’ve expanded since then,” said Biernacki, explaining the store has always offered lessons and a large selection of instruments, accessories and sheet music.
Part of what keeps the Music Center thriving is a long-standing relationship with the Deerfield public schools.
“We supply band and orchestra instruments for the schools in the area,” Biernacki said. “We have thousands of instruments.”
The Music Center also offers one-on-one lessons in almost all string, wind and brass instruments.
“Pretty much anything you can think of, we teach,” Biernacki said. “Guitar is still the most popular.”
The Music Center employs nine teachers, all with degrees in their respective instruments.
Although summer is slow, Biernacki said August can become busy with the start of the school year. The Music Center sanitizes and prepares instruments prior to the beginning of the school year. Biernacki said a large part of their inventory goes to schools.
Biernacki said business has changed dramatically since he took over in 1991.
“With the advent of the Internet, and sites like Amazon.com selling instruments, it has changed business,” he said.
Still, people come in to the store to browse for instruments.
“They’ve been very welcoming and patient,” said Sue Wicks, who was looking at the store for clarinets with her two daughters. “They let you try out the instruments and they’re really lovely about it. We live in Lake Bluff, but we come all the way here.”
In addition to the Music Center of Deerfield, Biernacki owns similar music stores in Libertyville and Antioch.
“I’m here most of the time,” Biernacki said, explaining that he spends about two to three days a week at the other locations.
Originally from Chicago, Biernacki has lived in Highland Park for 30 years. A graduate of the Chicago Conservatory, he began teaching guitar in 1973. Prior to then, he was having trouble making enough money as a musician.
“So I got into the teaching and retail part of it,” he said. “It’s just a passion that I have. I come here every day and it’s not a job.”