Editor's note: This story is advertorial content that is part of the 2021 "Essential to Jamestown" special edition of The Jamestown Sun. The annual Progress Edition features stories on essential workers, agencies and businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Lifestyle Appliance & Entertainment Center continued to serve customers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We were lucky enough when some of the businesses were closing down to be considered an essential business with selling fridges, washers, that type of thing that people can’t do without,” said Toni Wegenast, who owns the business with her husband, Colin.
“When they started talking about what was essential and what wasn’t, we didn’t know where we were going to land in that,” she said. “But especially during a pandemic when people are sick, washers to sanitize things are pretty essential, fridges are always essential. ...”
Colin noted employees carried hand sanitizer and wore face masks on calls. They also asked health screening questions before delivering products or providing services in customers' homes, Toni said.
“Everybody was really good about that through this,” she said. “And we asked our employees for the first couple of months to limit travel to near (Jamestown) to keep them and customers safe. We got really lucky employee and customer wise all through this.”
Although traffic in the store initially slowed, Toni said, there were more phone discussions and phone orders. The store also offered curbside service for people to pick up parts they needed.
Toni and Colin believe more home projects were done in the last year and with that came the need for appliances.
“We had a really good year through all this even with all the worries and obviously that’s thanks to our customers, we can’t do it without them at all,” Toni said.
What Lifestyle Appliance has been dealing with is a shortage of some products, something other industries have also dealt with, said Colin. Many companies shut down for a few months because of the pandemic and after reopening they had “hundreds of thousands of pieces on backorders,” Toni said.
Colin thanked their customers for being patient during the shortage of products and noted availability is improving.
Lifestyle Appliance took advantage of having less inventory when that was occurring to do a facelift at the store which is almost complete, Toni said. That included paint, flooring, ceiling and lighting, rearranging the display floor and moving the retail counter from the front of the store to the back to allow better display of products.
Lifestyle Appliance & Entertainment Center, in its 44th year in business, provides free delivery on new products and service after the sale.
“We do a lot of supporting the community. We give back to the community too,” Colin said.