Western Appliance in San Jose to close after 147 years

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ByDavid Louie KGO logo
Saturday, January 11, 2020
San Jose appliance store ends 147 year run
After 147 years, Western Appliance in San Jose will soon close its doors.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- It's a challenging time for traditional retailers with competition from online and big box stores.

Western Appliance in San Jose is the latest to decide to fold, leaving behind a long, 147 year history and legions of loyal customers who are known to hum or single the store's familiar advertising jingle.

Yelka and Joe Talaich have been Western Appliance customers for decades. The store sports a huge showroom with every brand of appliance made. It's known for the personal assistance provided by a very knowledgeable sales staff.

Jeffrey Niederauser is the fifth generation owner.

"It started back with my great great grandfather in Bakersfield in Kern County, selling furniture and caskets," he said, "and it evolved to the store we are today here in San Jose."

The 147 year run is ending as its full-service model has fallen out of favor.

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"The last 12 years, most of that business has gone to the big box stores, and internet has gone from a very minor player to a very significant player," said co-owner Eric Moir.

Western Appliance is known for its signature neon sign above its West San Carlos Street store, which can be seen for miles. It was erected in 1962. It's also known for its familiar jingle.

"Western Appliance... Making life much easier for you."

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It will be harder for Yelka Talaich, who was in real estate for many years.

"I always brought my clients here because they really give excellent service," she said. Is she going to miss the store? "Very much so," she replied.

There were 10 stores at one point. Now down to one, a farewell sale will begin until the floor is empty. That's likely to take a couple of months.

We don't know what will be the fate of the famous Western Appliance sign. We know that there are preservationists in town who probably would love to have it. We do know that one thing will linger in peoples' minds, possibly forever.