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Energy to spare

Rebennack owner’s goal – customer contact

The new sign behind owner Jim Broda is close to the Maytag blue found on the logo of the major appliances that will soon fill the new showroom at 269 Wyoming Avenue, Kingston.

DO CAREY/THE TIMES LEADER

KINGSTON – When the Rebennack Appliance truck drove onto a construction site, Jim Broda drew puzzled looks from the workers.

The projects were often holes in the ground in no need of a stove, refrigerator or washer and dryer. But the visits paid off.

Broda said he is supplying major appliances for the 181 townhouses in the Stauffer Pointe development in Pittston and the 113 units in Blueberry Hill Estates in Duryea.

“I am a working owner,” said Broda, 30, who took over the business five years ago and kept the name of the Wyoming Valley’s oldest appliance store. It’s not unusual for him to leave the store in search of sales.

Through his hustle and smarts he’s been able to move from a dilapidated old building on Market Street closer to Kingston Corners. Now he’s relocating a few doors away to the former Yurish Music building he bought at 269 Wyoming Avenue.

“For a business to do that you’ve got to be doing some business,” Broda said. Sales have doubled since the first move to the six-figure range, he added.

The present store will soon be empty like some of his competitors who have closed because of the tough economic times that have battered the housing market and hammered shut consumers’ wallets. Those shoppers who are spending at Rebennack’s are letting the high-end models sit on the floor and instead are buying the mid-range appliances.

Broda’s initiative is on display in the store as well as at job sites.

Linda Andes carried an air conditioner toward the door Wednesday before Broda rushed over. “Let me get that for you,” he said as he helped her.

Andes, who moved to the Bear Creek area from York, heard about the store and stopped in.

“I’m coming back here for the rest of my stuff because I’m impressed,” Andes said.

If she returns in a couple of weeks, she’ll be able to shop in the new, larger store. There will be no wall running down the middle of the showroom and it will be big enough to fit 15 to 20 more appliances. The basement will hold inventory and there’s a small parking lot in the rear. Including the purchase and renovations, Broda estimated he will have spent several hundred thousand dollars.

The investment is worth it. It keeps him right in the business district and on the busy avenue between two competitors, Voitek TV & Appliance in Kingston and Lowe’s in Edwardsville. “We’re the cheap guy in the middle,” Broda pitched.

He employs his own installers and service technicians. He delivers the new appliances and picks up the old ones, covering a vast territory from Carbondale to Shickshinny. He follows a few basic ground rules; stay sharp on the products and the competition and have a good personality. “We try not to let anybody walk,” Broda said.

The few that do, he said, he tells them they’ve got a great deal.

SNAPSHOT: REBENNACK APPLIANCE

Location: 255 Wyoming Ave., Kingston. Moving to 269 Wyoming Ave. later this month

Owner: Jim Broda

Notable: Long-established name, but no Rebennacks have been involved for decades

Contact: 287-1175

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