Recession helps restore demand for repair shops
(Daily Oklahoman, The Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Jan. 29--Lynn Brown says she has broken video game consoles "stacked up to her ears."
But that's a good thing. Brown is owner of PSP Repair Service in Oklahoma City, a business that fixes PlayStation Portable and Xbox video game players.
Economic troubles have brought many new customers to her door, so many that she's considering hiring an employee to help her with the work.
"It's just gone crazy," she said. "I can't keep up."
It's a trend several metro-area repair shops are seeing: In hard times, people fix what they have rather than buy new.
James Geddes, owner of Mr. Appliance at 6310 S Western Ave., said after a difficult four or five months, business is starting to pick up.
"It seems to be turning around," he said.
For years, the price of a new appliance was less than repairing an old one. But now, prices are up, and the economy is down. Geddes said he thinks 2009 and 2010 will be good years for the repair business.
David Thomas, owner of All Maytag Home Appliance Center in Edmond, said he hasn't seen much of an increase in repair business compared to six months ago.
The store at 401 S Broadway does about 90 percent of its business in new appliance sales, with the remainder in repairs. But this year, Thomas said he thinks the repair business will increase and new sales will go down.
"Everybody's got the mind-set right now on pulling back," he said. "A lot of people will probably spend the cost of repair instead of buying new."
The savings can be substantial. For instance, a broken washing machine can cost $150 to repair or $500 to replace, he said.
Brown said some of her customers feel getting anything repaired carries a stigma similar to shopping at a thrift store.
"Some, I think, seem a little ashamed and go out of their way to point out that under normal circumstances, they would have gone out and bought new toys rather than go through the hassle of repair," Brown said.
"But they're glad I'm here nonetheless."
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