Top Argentine distributor launches Legend percussion line
In the late 1950s, Argentina, like the rest of the world, was enthralled by a compelling new technology: the television. As consumers snapped up TVs at a rapid pace, Leonardo Martellotta and his wife Elvira Alonso saw an untapped opportunity in supplying repair parts. On the outskirts of Buenos Aires, they formed Tevelam, which quickly became the go-to parts source for repairmen and retailers. The fact that, 59 years later, Tevelam is still a thriving concern is a tribute to the resourcefulness of the Martellotta family.
In 1978, when second generation Hugo Martellotta joined the family business, the market for television parts was on the wane. He successfully transitioned the company into distributing pro-audio gear and musical instruments, securing Behringer, Washburn, JBL, Proel, PR, Memphis, Benson, and numerous other product lines. Four years ago, the company embarked on another significant transition, establishing a drum manufacturing business under the “Legend” trademark.
Although distribution was and remains a profitable business for Tevelam, Hugo Martellotta always had an abiding interest in running a manufacturing operation. Based on his close contact with local markets, he was also confident that South American musicians would be pre-disposed to buy high-quality locally manufactured instruments. Thus, in 2012 he launched the new drum manufacturing division.
Although there is a strong South American inclination to “buy local,” Martellotta recognized that to succeed, Legend drums had to match the quality level of top-selling global brands. To achieve that goal, he staffed the new division with experienced manufacturing professionals and invested in more than 30 precision manufacturing machines from around the globe.
Legend drums are now produced in a plant outside of Buenos Aires. Shells are fabricated out of araucaria, an indigenous wood that closely resembles maple. “The acoustic properties are excellent,” says Martellotta. “And it’s also a sustainable resource.” Strips of araucaria are transformed into shells using a sophisticated lamination process dubbed Wood Thermosetting Cover System or WTCS. The consistent result is shells that combine resonance, dimensional precision, and durability. Martellotta adds that they are dimensionally stable under any conditions, allowing for better tone and tuning. To make a compelling package for drummers, the shells are complemented by proprietary hardware.
Legend drums are supported by a website with video content, an active social media campaign, and a dynamic clinic series featuring Cristian Judurcha, a noted Argentine drummer. The combination of a quality product and an aggressive marketing campaign has earned Legend Drums a ready market in Argentina. Sales have also been strong in neighboring Brazil, Uruguay, and Chile. Martellotta is even exporting kits to Italy.
From a starting level of 600 drumsets per month, production is on track to double by next year. The growth has even attracted the attention of the Argentine government. Martellotta recently was honored by the Ministry of Foreign Trade with the ExportAr award in a ceremony at the San Martin Palace. “I’m proud that we have been able to produce a high-quality product in our country that can compete globally,” he says. “It’s an exciting new development for our company.”
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