Too much business, too few workers
After eight years of successful business, E.S. Medeiros Appliance in Vineyard Haven will close the doors to its retail store on State Road at the end of the day on Saturday.
With all the potential pitfalls Island retailers face, it was actually too much business that led owner Eric Medeiros to close shop.
Mr. Medeiros said he could not hire enough reliable employees to handle the workload of both appliance sales and repairs. "The work is there, the customers are there, the sales are there, but it's just getting enough reliable people to do it that is the problem," Mr. Medeiros said yesterday morning.
Mr. Medeiros said he will continue his appliance service business from a new location on Evelyn Way, just down the road in Vineyard Haven. He said he plans to open that location on Tuesday. Mr. Medeiros said that along with appliance repair he will continue to sell small appliances, including vacuum cleaners and dehumidifiers.
Islanders are now left with two on-Island appliance retailers, Crane Appliance, in Vineyard Haven and Western Auto in Oak Bluffs.
Mr. Medeiros said, "I feel bad that I am leaving people with only one option for where to buy appliances. People need options, and I hate to do that to them, but there is really nothing I can do at this point."
Mr. Medeiros got into the appliance repair business 20 years ago. After graduating from the Martha's Vineyard Regional High School, he said he knew he wanted to stay on the Island, but didn't want to do carpentry, which is what most of his friends were doing. "I looked around and I saw that everybody has got at least four or five appliances in their homes, and so it seemed like that would be something that needed to be taken care of," he said.
So, Mr. Medeiros headed to appliance repair school. He went to school at night, and worked as a carpenter during the day. Part way through school he took a job as an appliance repairman.
After working for a year in his new occupation, work became scarce and Mr. Medeiros went back to carpentry. Before long word spread across the Island that Mr. Medeiros could fix appliances, and that he was good at it. "Within three or four months, I was doing it full-time and on my own," said Mr. Medeiros.
That was 1984, and since then, his business has only grown. A key to the success, he said, was a good relationship with the Mid-Cape Home Center, where a friend of his worked on Cape Cod.
"My friend would do the selling, and I would do their repair work here. We took care of each other's customers. It was a really good deal. But when my friend retired, my customers weren't being taken care of they way I wanted them to," said Mr. Medeiros.