As I have mentioned in some of my previous posts I have been having a good time until recently trying to keep a small electronic parts house alive in the neighboring city of Eau Claire Wisconsin. Indianhead Electronics has been the business of Judy for about 45 years. Two years ago I walked in and asked Judy if she would mind if I came in a couple times a weeks and organized the different sections of the store. The store was straight out of the time, really not that long ago, when the TV repair guy came to these shops on a regular basis and bought everything from Tubes to TV Rotors and antennas. Judy and her partner made a good business of it by being fair and honest with their clients. However, as we all know technology marches on and as TVs and technology changed, the ability and practicality of repairing them waned. As the older Repair Guys retired or passed away the clientele dwindled. Six years ago Judy's partner passed away. Judy had always been the business mind and her partner had been the technical mind. Even without the technical background and the loss of the Radio TV service business Judy kept the business alive with her dedication to her clients who still came to buy a switch, resistor or some other part.
For me it was great to get to play with the electronics and to get a chance to help since most of the present customers were amateur electronic experimenters or non-technical people trying to fix one thing or another. I enjoyed talking to them and helping them solve their electronics questions.
Here is a picture courtesy of Google of what the shop looked like from the outside when I started helping out.
The building itself is an old church that had been converted to commercial use years ago and the electronic store is in the basement. The owner of the building is the Auto Body Repair business next door.
This last Spring things really started to unravel for Judy and Indianhead Electronics. Judy fainted one day and a few days later she was having surgery for a triple heart bypass. While she wanted to come back to work the same week of the surgery things did not go all that well and she began a long convalescence. To try to keep the business running I increased my participation from two days a week to five days. I was still only covering the morning hours. At this same time the owner of the property came over to tell me that he was going to try to wait until Judy was better but that before the cold weather arrives he was going to have to give Judy a 30 day notice as he wanted to tear the building down to extend the parking lot for his business. No one wanted to tell Judy of the impending bad news about having to move out of the building. For the last three months Judy has gradually gotten better and has resumed her regular hours. Finally the bad day came and she was told that we had 30 days to vacate the building. This is what the inside of the store looked like a few weeks ago.
If I haven't been on the forum much lately it is because I have been going through the parts and packing and organizing them for the move. It was very unlikely that we would get as much room for the shop as there was before. There is also the real possibility we won't find a place to rent at all for what Judy can afford. I was therefore stripping out the old and obsolete stock and streamlining the inventory so that it would fit in a smaller space and still be relevant to the needs of the customers. Though she has been trying she has not been able to find a suitable location to move to and with the deadline looming, today we put the store into storage. The room is empty now and all that are left are the memories and a set of file cabinets containing a large collection of Sam's Photo Facts. Soon it will be a parking lot and the cycle of change and progress will continue.
I hope that Judy is able to find the right location as I would love to try to put the store back together once more but more likely the shop will sit in storage until it is divided up or sent to its final resting place in the local landfill.
Incidentally if anyone is interested and can get here with a truck in the next week or two here are 6 large file cabinets packed with Sam's Photo Facts that you can have for free.
So far I have not found anyone to take them. It will make me cry to have to throw them in a dumpster but in a couple weeks there will be no other choice.