George’s Appliance and Television remains true to its own model of appliances and small business

Fri, 11/19/2021 10:00 a.m.

If you’ve seen the Sunday episode of “60 Minutes” – hell if you’ve walked into a supermarket lately – then you know this country has a serious supply chain problem. The docks are full of items stowed in boxes – and there is no guarantee these products will end up in your stocking or under your tree this holiday season.

The warehouses, truckers, and haulage companies are blaming each other, costs are skyrocketing, and the shelves have more bald spots than your uncle Leo.

It’s super frustrating.

But there is a silver lining – no, not for that, but in your current planning.

If you’re one of the countless people who shop small, you know a lot of hassle can be avoided by patronizing locally owned vendors.

You have products! In fact, many make their own or use other nearby mom and pop establishments for goods.

And if you are interested in the whole thing: “What’s my name, looks good on me, do you have it in blue, can you wrap it as a present for me?” Then you’ll be happy to know that local dealers are happy to answer these questions.

The pandemic is approaching (gulp) two years – and it is still not easy (or cheap) to cross the line. The residents have made it their business to keep local businesses afloat. You are encouraged to continue this practice on Small Business Saturday.

In return, retailers offer unique gifts and merchandise at the lowest prices of the year.

Maybe there is even hot chocolate.

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George’s Appliance leads and provides sales, free shipping, and factory service for every home appliance needed to fully equip kitchens, laundries and more.

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By Daniel Davey

Few can claim to have been explorers, singer-musicians and pirate captains – all pretty much under one roof.

Claims are available to Mark Milanovich, owner of George’s Appliance and Television, Niagara Falls. He played them all in those 30-second commercials that so many locals like.

A mainstay of the Niagara Falls small business landscape, George’s Appliance and Television, 1422 Pine Ave., has weathered the COVID-19 pandemic and, quite frankly, has weathered the past five decades relatively well. Milanovich attributes this to two main reasons.

One is the fact that at some point people will need devices for whatever reason.

The other is the rare service that George’s offers in the appliance dealership world. “You treat people right, they come back. My dad used to say, ‘If you don’t treat people right, they won’t come back.’ You are treating someone right and they are telling their friends, relatives. And if you don’t treat people right, that won’t happen. “

His father George was prepared for something. In business since 1968, the tradition has followed Milanovich since he was a teenager working in his father’s shop.

“I grew up doing this; I’ve been doing this since I was 14 years old. We know what we are selling, we know what we like and we tell everyone what is good and what is bad, ”he said.

“People also come to us because they can come in here, we can talk to them. You cannot get the information from these other locations. We have the information. We can tell everyone the advantages and disadvantages of the items we sell. People like that. That’s what they want. You want service. “

When it comes to these “other places”, Milanovich knows the competition in general and how Georges differs in particular. “Today there is competition between the small and the large. The little guy has the advantage because it’s just a much more personal level. We’re selling something and there’s a problem … a customer picks up the phone and calls me. Where in the other places does it say ‘Here, call this number’ and who knows where. “

George’s offers free delivery and setup of the products it sells, as well as under-warranty repairs for the brands it sells and stocks. Everything under one roof, one local call. It is a model that excludes the involvement of second and third parties. You’d think that one phone rings all the time.

“We were actually very busy,” said Milanovich. “Our customer base has grown so much because people are fed up with the ‘big stores’ so they look for us.”

From the Tonawaandas and North Buffalo, Newfane to Wilson, Lockport and Niagara Falls, Milanovich seems to have witnessed what goes on in the local appliance industry. “I have found that the ‘Big Box Stores’ make a lot of promises and cannot keep them. There are no … what can I say … they don’t care. We hear so many stories like this.

“We get calls every day because someone is trying to find someone to fix something they can’t fix. People can go nuts and try to find someone to serve some of these brands that other places just sell no matter what. “

Even so, Milanovich suggests that the small business equipment dealer all but disappear. He’s spoken to people he looks after from other areas of western New York and they tell him that their neighborhoods, cities, and towns used to have equipment stores. But they are gone.

The logical step could be to extend George’s footprint to these other areas. But Milanovich grins and shrugs: “If I were 10 or 20 years younger, it would definitely be. But at the moment we’re kind of at the maximum. To get bigger … we could. But it would take a lot more staff. But now it’s good and we’re happy, and it’s just enough. “

Currently, George is enough for eight full-time employees, including his wife and daughter. But the current business climate has not escaped him. He worries that he will no longer be able to do his usual sales and specials with the coming holidays.

“We can’t get everything now, we take orders and try to fulfill them. But some take a while. So it’s difficult to start any specials now. Not only is it a little misleading, it’s very misleading, ”said Milanovich. “And we won’t do that.

“Places like the ‘Big Box Stores’ could do that. I can’t tell you how many people have been promised something in the past few months, or one day they’re going to run a promotion and say to you, ‘Oh yeah, we have this for you for delivery in two weeks. ‘And then the two weeks go by and it’s not there. They make promises they can’t keep, ”said Milanovich.

Milanovich says George’s tries to offer the best possible prices at all times, regardless of sales. Added to this is the best possible service and customer relationship.

“We value patience and what people have expected of us,” he said. “Even the people who waited. And I’ve had people waiting. Nobody went to Disney World last year; They remodeled their kitchens. So there was a lot of demand for this stuff. “

And beyond the inevitable gadgets people demand, you can count those 30-second commercials.

“We are now planning a new one. Lots of people come in and ask, ‘When is the new commercial?’ ” he said.

When and what.

“We like to surprise people,” said Milanovich. “It will probably be a few months before we can get it all together. It takes a while to finish. It makes a lot of fun. It’s crazy, it really is. “

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