Remembering Sheila Weisfeld
ast week, this industry lost one of its silent stalwarts -- not that those who knew her would have described Sheila Weisfeld, shown with her son Mathew, as shy or retiring. VPI has never been the noisiest company in this industry, rarely exhibiting at shows or appearing at dealer events, yet their products have been a constant presence and a benchmark for genuine quality and performance for over three decades. In fact, no other high-end turntable manufacturer has enjoyed such a period of uninterrupted production, such success or remained so dedicated to the core business of replaying the vinyl record.
That business success is, in no small part, down to Sheila. She never forgot that VPI was a business, and that the first rule of business is to stay in business. Sheila was definitely all business.
She was also warm, quick-witted and always ready and willing to puncture the pompous or over-inflated ego. She was a breath of fresh air, a welcome touch of reality in a world of fantasy. VPI is very much a family business, a family brought closer by the loss of eldest son Jonathon in a car accident years ago. Family brought the business through that tragedy, and the business will bring the family through this one, Harry being joined by younger son Mathew to help share the load -- not that he'll exactly be filling his mother's shoes. And it's not the heels that are the problem; Sheila's shoes (at least in later years) were always sensibly flat. They're just big, big shoes to fill, and hi-fi and the world in general are a far, far poorer place today, even if both Mathew and the company stand testimony to the power of Sheila's personality and sense of balance.
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