Opening of My Family Appliances in Edison by former Derby Appliance manager
EDISON – For Scott Richard, the saying “When one door closes, another opens” has perhaps never been so true.
As his stay at the former Derby Appliance store on Route 27, where he had worked for almost five years as a store manager and sales manager with the intention of buying the business, was coming to an end in July, Richard accelerated plans to open his own home appliance store.
He took the knowledge he gleaned from Derby and the spirit of treating customers like family with him. The long-standing family business closed its doors at the end of the summer after nearly seven decades in business.
On November 5, Richard is hosting a grand opening celebration for My Family Appliances at 561 Route 1, Edison in the Wick Plaza Mall. Although a soft opening isn’t expected until October 22, Richard has already been busy delivering appliances while completing renovations to the new 3,450 square foot store.
The store will carry kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, ranges, range hoods, ovens, wall ovens, microwaves, laundry appliances, outdoor grills from top brands and air purifiers, some of which are guaranteed by the FDA to kill COVID, and a range of generators.
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“I haven’t opened the door yet and have already made some significant sales. I look forward to serving this community in any way I can,” said Richard. “It’s a love investment for me.”
Since the end of July, Richard has been working on the new store.
“We’re bringing it straight into the 21st century,” Richard said.
Richard’s business has strong ties to his own family and Derby Appliance. His son and nephews are part of his early publicity efforts and most of his sales team, which is like family with names like “Uncle Clarence”, previously worked at Derby Appliance.
The lead salesman is Clarence McLendon, who worked at Derby for 15 years and has 30 years in the appliance business. Richard said customers love McLendon.
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Richard’s connection to Derby Appliance began during the 25 years he worked in advertising sales in the radio industry for stations like Magic 98.3, WCTC, Greater Media and New Jersey 101.5.
“I actually knew Mark (Berkowitz) from Derby as a sales rep for his publicity,” Richard said.
After Berkowitz began talking about retirement following the death of his wife, Richard expressed interest in buying the appliance company, which he knew about from his work writing their advertising campaigns.
“I came to work for Mark and learn the trade at the feet of the master,” said Richard, a Somerset resident. “My son was young and I was spending too much time on the road. I didn’t want to be an outdoor cat anymore – I wanted in. He gave me the opportunity based on the fact that I was buying the company and I just fell in love with it.”
Although the agreement to buy Derby Appliance fell through, Richard continued his career in the sale of household appliances.
“It’s sales, something new and exciting every day. You have new people showing up at your door and sometimes you can really help them out of a mess, especially during the pandemic,” said Richard. “We were open, we were essential. There are times when people come in when they’re in trouble and they really need a washing machine and you can help them. It’s a wonderful business. You meet great, wonderful, wonderful people.”
He said that unlike some big box stores, My Family Appliances offers more personalized service.
“When you come to a store like this you are greeted by a knowledgeable sales professional. You are not a number, you can ask tons of questions about a product, fridge, washer or dryer and get the answers. Here you can go deep and build your kitchen or your laundry room or your outdoor kitchen the way you want,” he said.
But the business is truly a family affair.
“When I decided what to name the company, when I knew I wasn’t going to take the old name (Derby), what I wanted to do was connote a feeling when people talk about it” , said Richard. “I call it My Family Appliances because when I say, ‘This is my family’…I want my customers to come in and feel like family. We’re going to treat you like family. When you walk in, you go get taken care of. I’m your Uncle Scott in the appliance business.
His slogan ? “Where you still get the family discount.”
Suzanne Russell is a breaking news reporter for MyCentralJersey.com covering crime, the courts and other mayhem. To get unlimited access, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.