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The final chapter: Dan Ries, Tina Parker close the book on D&D TV and Appliance’s story
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By Carol McIntire
A business partnership that’s spanned 25 years is coming to an end Dec. 31.
Dan Ries, one half of that partnership and the ownership team of D&D TV and Appliance, announced the closing in an email to The Messenger last week.
His business partner and longtime friend, Tom Parker, died of cancer in July.
One day after the announcement, Ries and Parker’s wife, Tina, sat down at the desks the two childhood friends occupied for the last 22 years at the Canton Rd. business.
With tears in their eyes, the two took a trip down memory lane, talking about the early days, the laughs, the friendships they forged with customers and finally, the events that led to the decision to close the business.
“I knew this day would come one day but did not expect it to happen so soon,” Ries said. “It has been a rough year. In January, we suffered the passing of our friend and serviceman of 20 years, Dave Walter. In July, my best friend of 50+ years passed away. I have been working overtime to provide our customers the high quality of service they have expected from us over the years. But I can no longer provide the service they deserve and have lost the desire to continue with the passing of my friends.”
As Ries shared childhood memories and Tina contributed stories from Tom, it was evident the business relationship was one of those things that was just…well…meant to be.”
They shared Cub Scouts, shenanigans in school and were a group of five kids who “hung together” through high school.
Following college, Ries opened a video store on N. High St. in Carrollton while Parker found employment in the private sector.
“One day, Dan Detchon came into the video store, said he was closing his appliance business and wanted to know if I was interested in buying it,” Ries related. Tom’s dad, Don, and I ended up buying the business. Combining their names, Don and Dan, D&D TV & Appliance was born and opened April 1, 1987, on Public Square in a foot of snow.
Ten years later, when Don was considering retirement, the two friends forged the partnership and set off on a journey that included expanding the business, purchasing a building and relocating to Canton Rd.
“When Village TV closed, we got so busy we outgrew the store,” Ries recalled. “Tom found this building on Canton Rd. that had been used as a warehouse. We signed the papers Dec. 31, 1999. We opened in 2000 after we spent many nights working in here to get the place ready.
The business has survived a hurricane and a tornado.
“About 12 years ago a hurricane blew this part of the roof off the building” Ries said. “Ten years later, a tornado blew through and ripped off the front door, went through the building and took the back doors off. It also ripped the air conditioning units off the roof.”
“There have been so many things…,” Ries said, this thought drifting away. “Tom and I have laughed many times and said we should have kept notes and written a book with all our experiences.”
There was the time they made a delivery to a home and when they went back outside, there was a goat in the back of the truck. Or the time Ries got bit -not by a dog, but a turkey – a pet turkey that lived in the house and had its own room.
Tina spoke of how much Tom enjoyed fair season, the visits by 4-H and FFA members asking them to bid on their projects and attending the sale and purchasing projects. “I didn’t get to eat many of the cookies and baked goods the kids brought in, but I did see the thank you notes,” she said.
“There were lots of cookies,” Ries chimed in. “I always told people who bought a new stove, we got the first batch of cookies baked in it. We’ve eaten a lot of cookies!”
The stories continued and merged into a discussion about customer service and what it means to be a part of the small community.
“There were many times when Tom got a call on Sunday from someone whose stove or washer quit working. He’d go to the store, load up the appliance and deliver it,” Tina said. That’s part of being in a small community.”
“I remember one year we delivered a stove on Thanksgiving Day.” Ries noted.
With tears in his eyes, Ries spoke of the loss of Walter, the company’s longtime repairman.
“We couldn’t have done it without him,” Ries said, explaining Walter was an invaluable part of the team. “He worked for us for 20 years.”
The longtime business owner became emotional as he thanked the community.
“You have trusted us with all your appliance needs, invited us into your homes, become our friends, shared stories, laughs, a cold drink, and occasionally a plate of cookies. We have watched your children grow up, then grandchildren, and in some cases, great grandchildren. We have even attended a few of your weddings, sponsored sports teams, car shows and other events. We’ve bought your 4-H projects, FFA fruit and anything else your children were selling. It has always been our goal to support this community as much as you have supported us,” Ries said.
Well-aware of the void that will be created with the loss of the business, Ries said, “I cannot go into details, but I have been working to bring another appliance store to town and it appears that may be happening soon. They will be bringing the same family values and service you have expected from us for over 35 years. Watch for details over the next few months.”
He closed the conversation by turning his thoughts to the final two months.
“If you are going to be in need of an appliance soon, come on in before Dec. 31 and help get rid of our inventory. I invite all of you to stop in before the end of the year, not to say goodbye, but so I may shake your hand and thank each and every one of you personally. And feel free to bring a plate of cookies.”
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