The quality is there

TRACY – They’ve only officially been open for a few days, but employees at a new business in downtown Tracy say they’ve been kept busy.

“We’ve been getting a lot of phone calls,” said Marilyn Opdahl, one of the staff members at Affordable Appliance Plus. There was also a good crowd present for the business’ grand opening.

Affordable Appliance Plus opened its doors on Thursday. The business, which features a variety of home appliances and furniture, is located in the former Dueber’s Variety building in Tracy.

Affordable Appliance Plus is selling home appliances from refrigerators to washers, dryers and microwaves, as well as furniture.

The appliances may have cosmetic faults like a scratch or dent, but are otherwise new and in good working order, said business owner Darin Horner. That’s one reason the business is able to offer lower prices, he said.

Horner said his appliance business began about six months ago. At first, he said, it was more of a sideline or a hobby than anything else. A friend who worked for an appliance manufacturer asked if Horner would be interested in some inventory that couldn’t be sold to retailers. He started out working out of warehouse space in Tracy.

“Then it just grew from there because of the prices,” Horner said.

These days, he said, people shopping for home appliances tend to be looking more carefully for good prices, or the even chance to get a “bundle” deal on home appliances. “It’s really taken off,” he said.

Horner said the appliances and furniture Affordable Appliance Plus sells include items with cosmetic defects, or in the case of furniture, pieces that had been floor models or overstocks. Those factors make it possible for the business to sell them for less than suggested retail prices, he said.

But Horner and Affordable Appliance Plus staff emphasized that their merchandise is still good quality.

“Everything we have is tested before we put it on the floor,” Horner said. Affordable Appliances offers a 30-day guarantee for appliances, and he said some of the appliance brands the store sells have options for manufacturer warranties.

Horner and store staff also said they will work with customers to fix preexisting dents or cosmetic faults on an appliance.

“The biggest thing is, we make sure (customers) like what they see,” Horner said.

Horner is from Tracy, but he said the decision to move into the old Dueber’s space was a matter of available opportunities.

The business needed a retail space to really get on its feet. The former Dueber’s was available, he said, “And the owner of the building wanted to get someone in it.”

“The layout is pretty good for appliances,” said store employee Tom Backlund. Horner and store staff say it’s also positive to be able to bring business to Tracy.

“We believe it just benefits the community,” Opdahl said.

“And it definitely benefits other local businesses, too,” to fill downtown vacancies, Backlund said.