In 1963, Harry J. Bernstein founded La Playa Distributing Company as an importer of Latin American instruments. It wasn’t until 1995 that the company was renamed to LPD Music International to better reflect the changing scope of our business. Today, LPD is owned and managed by Harry’s daughter, Sonia, and her husband, Tom.
After earning an accounting degree from Wayne State University, Harry Berstein sought to travel and experience the world. He eventually decided on Mexico as his destination and ventured south for the next three months. During this time, Harry embraced the culture, learned to speak Spanish, and developed a strong passion for Latin American music — particularly Salsa and Merengue.
Upon his return, Harry strolled through the streets of Detroit and spotted an assortment of Latin American instruments in a music store window. Astounded by the markup compared to the prices in Mexico, Harry saw the potential for an import business. He first attempted to import leather handbags, which he sold locally to Saks Fifth Avenue, Hudson’s and a few other high-end department stores. However, after the first shipment, the quality began to decline, and so too did Harry’s handbag business. He was stuck with tons of bags, many of which he gave to his mother’s friends and acquaintances.
Harry would give the import business another shot in 1963, but decided to try his hand at Latin instruments this time. He primarily imported bongos, congas, maracas, guiros and claves, and began selling to local musical merchandisers. In 1964, La Playa Distributing Company moved to Woodward Avenue in Detroit and began to operate as a wholesale distributor of musical products.
Moving On Up
Over the years, La Playa steadily grew and found its place in the music industry as a wholesale distributor. Since its birth in 1963, the company grew and operated smoothly for more than 15 years. However, in 1979, a devastating fire completely destroyed La Playa’s Woodward Avenue location and all of the building’s contents. While La Playa was inoperable for almost five years, Harry took some time off to decide how to continue his career. Eventually, he decided to continue pursuing his dream and to rebuild La Playa. In 1984, he relocated his business to Madison Heights, Michigan, and La Playa Distributing Co. lived again.
Even after a 5,000 square foot expansion to the company warehouse, the business still outgrew the new space. In 1996, La Playa Distributing relocated to a 40,000 square foot building just two streets over in Madison Heights. Along with the company growth at this time, La Playa was importing a more diverse selection of products than ever. As Harry’s business expanded far beyond the Latin origins, it seemed like an appropriate time to change the name of the business to reflect the changing times. It was around this time that the company would be renamed LPD Music International. Harry felt this name better reflected the changing scope of our business and it preserved the company’s history with the La Playa Distributing acronym.
Today, LPD Music International is run by Harry’s daughter Sonia and her husband Tom. The wholesale business operates out of a 40,000 square foot building which houses both the office staff and warehouse. Over the years, LPD expanded their inventory to become a full-line distributor of musical instruments, pro audio equipment and accessories. LPD currently distributes more than 3,000 music and pro audio products from roughly 150 different companies. LPD is also proud to be the exclusive North American distributor of Danelectro, Italia, Vintage, Fret-King, Paracho TKO, Windsor, Crestwood, Darling Divas, Josef Bremen, Diamond and more.