SHOP LO­CAL

Fam­ily-run ap­pli­ance store holds its own against big chains.

The Citizens' Voice - - FRONT PAGE - BY DENISE ALLABAUGH STAFF WRITER

EX­ETER — A lo­cal small fam­ily-owned ap­pli­ances and elec­tron­ics busi­ness gives big chain stores a run for their money.

In­side Voitek TV & Ap­pli­ances on Wy­oming Av­enue in Ex­eter, Ed Voitek showed an ad­join­ing ware­house en­com­pass­ing an acre where hun­dreds of re­frig­er­a­tors and other ap­pli­ances such as wash­ers and dry­ers are in stock and stacked to the roof.

This dif­fers from the big re­tail chains that rarely have ap­pli­ances im­me­di­ately avail­able and where cus­tomers must or­der ev­ery­thing and wait days for them to ar­rive, he said.

“We de­liver im­me­di­ately, the same day or the next day. With re­frig­er­a­tion, it’s a need. Laun­dry is a need too,” he said. “If we don’t have it in a stock and you or­dered it yes­ter­day, I would de­liver it to­day. Gen­er­ally speak­ing, I have it in stock.”

Voitek TV & Ap­pli­ance has been in busi­ness for more than six decades.

Dave Voitek and his late brother Mark, for­mer coal min­ers, started the busi­ness in 1956 by ser­vic­ing and then sell­ing TVs and later be­gan sell­ing ap­pli­ances as well.

Ed Voitek works at the sec­ond­gen­er­a­tion fam­ily busi­ness with his 87-year-old fa­ther, Dave Sr., the owner; his brother Dave Jr., his sis­ter Nancy, his cousin Mark and other fam­ily mem­bers.

Voitek TV & Ap­pli­ances also has a lo­ca­tion at 639 Wy­oming Ave., Kingston.

While many think of it as a mom-and-pop store, Ed Voitek said, “We’re a lot more ad­vanced than that.”

“We in­ter­act with your iPhones right into the tele­vi­sions, plus your in­ter­net,” he said. “We have a ser­vice to set that up for you.”

Since its found­ing, the busi­ness quickly grew and con­tin­ues to grow.

Ed Voitek said he sees the econ­omy im­prov­ing and more peo­ple are buy­ing TVs and ap­pli­ances.

Twenty-two em­ploy­ees work for Voitek TV & Ap­pli­ances and the busi­ness is hir­ing.

“We hired four peo­ple in the last few months and we’re go­ing to hire an­other one,” he said. “The growth is very good right now.”

Voitek showed one area at Voitek TV & Ap­pli­ances is set up as a home movie theater room and the store car­ries a huge se­lec­tion of TVs in dif­fer­ent sizes. An­other area is des­ig­nated solely as a dish­washer room.

“You don’t have this se­lec­tion at any other store other than here,” Voitek said. “We rep­re­sent ev­ery ma­jor man­u­fac­turer.”

Voitek’s buy­ing group Ap­pli­ance Deal­ers Co­op­er­a­tive is larger than Best Buy, Home De­pot and Lowe’s com­bined, he said.

Ap­pli­ance Deal­ers Co­op­er­a­tive as­sists in­de­pen­dent ap­pli­ance and elec­tronic deal­ers to com­pete and flour­ish in the mar­ket­place.

“Right now, they have over $100 mil­lion in in­ven­tory on hand for im­me­di­ate de­liv­ery to us of what­ever piece we need,” he said.

With a pop­u­lar washer, for ex­am­ple, he showed on his com­puter that 545 were in stock and 464 were on back or­der.

“Our group as a whole ac­tu­ally sells that many units,” he said. “That’s why I could be com­pet­i­tive with any­body.”

Voitek said an­other im­por­tant part of be­ing suc­cess­ful in com­pet­ing with big chains is to be­friend the in­ter­net as part of busi­ness.

He tells peo­ple to shop online and look at the com­peti­tors’ prices and his prices are about the same or bet­ter.

His busi­ness also of­fers cus­tomer ser­vice, an­swers phone calls and ad­dresses tech­ni­cal ques­tions.

“If you call if there’s a prob­lem, you call the per­son whose build­ing matches his name,” he said. “If you go to our web­site, we’re al­ways at least $1 cheaper than any­where else. No mat­ter what prod­uct.”

His cousin, Mark Voitek, said he has worked for the busi­ness since he was 8 years old help­ing his fa­ther with TV re­pairs and putting an­ten­nas on houses be­fore they even had a store. That is a change from the busi­ness to­day, where he also deals with the in­ter­net and ca­ble.

“The in­ter­net keeps prices low,” he said. “Ev­ery­body has to keep their prices low be­cause they’re giv­ing them away on the in­ter­net, but the in­ter­net doesn’t pro­vide any kind of ser­vice. If you buy it on the in­ter­net, you’re lucky to get it dropped off in front of your house. That’s as close as it ever gets.”

While Voitek TV & Ap­pli­ance cus­tomers could also or­der from the web­site, Voitek said the small fam­ily busi­ness dif­fers by do­ing de­liv­ery and setup and of­fer­ing more cus­tomer ser­vice.

“When you buy it from us, we de­liver it and in­stall it,” he said. “That’s a dif­fer­ent story.”

WAR­REN RUDA / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Ed Voitek of Voitek TV & Ap­pli­ances in Ex­eter stands among a por­tion of the re­frig­er­a­tors avail­able for pur­chase.

WAR­REN RUDA / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

From left, Ed Voitek, Dave Voitek Jr. and Mark Voitek work at the Ex­eter store owned by Ed and Dave Jr.’s fa­ther, Dave Voitek Sr. The store has been in busi­ness for more than six decades. Be­low: Voitek TV and Ap­pli­ances stocks re­frig­er­a­tors in the 1-acre ware­house ad­joined to its store.

WAR­REN RUDA / STAFF PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.