Westheimer Corporation, parent company of Harmony Guitars, today announced that company president Larry Goldstein will retire on March 31, 2016. Goldstein’s retirement ends a 50-year career, the last 30 with Westheimer Corporation. Company CEO Laura Gabel will assume the majority of Goldstein’s responsibilities while Director of Operations Kim Schmitt will oversee the remaining duties.
After earning his Bachelors in Business Administration and his MBA in Marketing from Roosevelt University, Goldstein started his career in June of 1966 at Harmony Guitar Company. Then the largest manufacturer of musical instruments in the world, Harmony produced acoustic guitars, electric guitars, ukuleles, banjos, mandolins, and violins. In fact, Harmony manufactured many of the instruments sold through the famed Sears, JC Penney, and Montgomery Ward catalogs of the day helping support their claim that “thousands of children learned how to play music on a Harmony instrument.” But it just wasn’t children playing Harmony, some of the biggest names in the world of music also played Harmony guitars. The Who’s Pete Townshend, J.J. Cale, Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, Keith Richards and Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, and Elvis Presley all played Harmony guitars throughout their careers.
During the 10 years following, Goldstein started a pro audio company and pursued a collection of other ventures. But it was a phone call from his colleague and occasional competitor Jack Westheimer that would change everything. At the time, Westheimer Corporation was selling to wholesalers but retailers were wanting new brands and wanting to buy direct from Westheimer. Goldstein came in to oversee marketing and sales. Together they seized the opportunity to sell to both. Later, in 2009, the Harmony name came up for sale and they bought it. To this day, their Harmony, Teisco, Groove Tools, and Mighty Mite brands are available to wholesalers, distributors, and retailers. As the internet became a force in the marketplace, web giant Amazon reached out to Goldstein and Westheimer to help put the first line of guitars for sale on their website.
When asked about his highlights during his career, Goldstein replied, “The biggest highlight was working side by side with Jack. He was a friend, a mentor, and a boss. Jack made me who I am. I am also very fortunate to be involved in the musical instrument industry. It is a wonderful industry where we all are friends. I am very fortunate to have made this my home.”