Family-run appliance store holds its own against big chains.
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.”
Ed Voitek of Voitek TV & Appliances in Exeter stands among a portion of the refrigerators available for purchase.
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.