Allen Caldwell has been using the training he received as an aircraft mechanic in the military to repair local kitchen appliances for over three decades. Caldwell and his wife, Samantha, also ran a restaurant supply store in Arcata, Allen’s Commercial Appliance, for over 20 years. Now the Caldwells say it’s time for a new chapter in their lives.
“We’re not closing services,” Samantha Caldwell said. “We’re just closing the sales room.”
The sales room located at 5197 Ericson Way will be closing Aug. 31, and will be open all of next week from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The store is selling what’s remaining of its wares, which can be seen at allenscommercialappliance.com under the showroom equipment tab. Those include coffee brewers, display cases, refrigerators, shelves, oven thermometers and more.
“We’re cutting the prices daily,” Caldwell said.
The service side of the business tends to do well during the summertime, Caldwell said, so he spent the winters repairing appliances to be sold in the store.
“I’m not shutting down because there’s a lack of business,” Caldwell said. “I’m shutting down because I’m tired.”
In the two decades that the store has been open, Caldwell said he ran one advertisement and wound up with so much business that he chose not to advertise again.
Running a small business is hard, Caldwell said. He tried to find employees who could keep the business going, but he said it’s hard to find qualified people in the trades these days because it’s “missing a whole generation of kids” that decided to choose other opportunities.
“There’s a big void,” he said. “I have other businessmen — construction and otherwise — in the business that say the same thing. We’re lacking tradesmen. … A friend of mine did a job fair and only three people showed up.”
In addition to the service side of the business, Caldwell said he was also looking into consulting since he has decades of experience setting up kitchens for restaurants, schools and other facilities.
Even though his rent wasn’t going up, Caldwell said the fact that his lease was coming up for renewal made the decision to close easier.
“It was just the fact that it was just time,” Caldwell said. “It’s just time.”
Sonia Waraich can be reached at 707-441-0506.