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All Variety Appliance

by Kevin Flaherty

Ever wonder where to go when a knob falls off your dryer or your washing machine poops out on you? The answer is right in your neighborhood: All Variety Appliance. Although All Variety Appliance has been in business for six years on the corner of Holton and Clarke Streets, owner David Ridgeway has been in the appliance service and repair business for nearly thirty years. David first started fixing appliances with his father when he was just fourteen years old, and later ran an appliance service business out of his house for years. Over the years of servicing appliances, it dawned on David that he could make a decent living reselling appliances. Asked what it was like to own his own business, David answered dryly, “You work 90 hours and get paid for 10.” Still, this is clearly a man who takes great pride in what he does. Inventory is arranged in an orderly fashion (including a basement filled with still more appliances and spare parts), and Ridgeway likes his work so much he even collects antique appliances as well. Both washers and driers are put through two test loads of laundry before All Variety will sell to the general public. To show his faith in his work, Ridgeway will offer up to a one-year warranty on his appliances. The company’s space, which housed a hardware store for decades until Builders’ Square drove it out of business, is filled wall-to-wall with a multitude of washing machines, dryers, refrigerators and stoves. All Variety specializes in sales and repairs on many of the major brands, including Whirlpool, Amana, Speed Queen, and Kenmore. The store still has its original pressed-tin ceiling, although it is now adorned with a contemporary update: a G-gauge Christmas-themed train set hangs suspended from the ceiling. Ridgeway sells primarily to the neighborhood, including local real estate investors. All Variety’s market niche is consumers who cannot afford brand new appliances. Gas stoves sell particularly well, reflecting the fact that most apartments in Riverwest and Harambee have gas hook ups. David obtains his inventory from a variety of sources, including newspaper ads and word-of-mouth. What might seem a used-up washing machine to a well-heeled Brewers Hill condo dweller is a sales opportunity for David. By cleaning and doing any necessary repairs, Ridgeway can add years to the life of an appliance that otherwise might be left curbside as large garbage pickup. Prices of appliances tend to range between $140 and $200. Sales do particularly well during tax refund season, when hard-strapped buyers have a rare moment with cash in their pockets. David lives nearby on Wright Street with his girlfriend, Danielle Machette, and their 11-year old daughter, Camille. Both David and Danielle are born-and-raised Riverwesters and have been a couple for many years. Danielle also works at the business. All Variety Appliance is located at 2578 N Holton. The store may be reached at 372-7366. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 1 – January 2003