Carol Burchett was an appliance dealer’s dream Thursday as she shopped for a washer, dryer, refrigerator, stove and dishwasher.
The new resident of Scotia shopped around on the Internet before ending up at John D. Marcella & Son Appliances’ new $2.4 million appliance store at 564 Broadway, which opened this week. She’s furnishing a house.
Burchett said she believes in buying local. “If there were major department stores downtown I would shop there, too,” she said.
Allen Goodman, president of ECG Consulting Group in Latham, was also shopping in the new Marcella’s store.
“It’s all about people and service. I’ve used them in several houses and I’m in the process of building a new house,” Goodman said.
He said appliance dealers like Marcella’s have to compete on price first but win loyal customers with service, selection and location.
“You have to deliver decade after decade. That helps you grow, be busy and be established,” he said. His father, Dick Goodman, was an appliance dealer for several decades as well.
John Marcella said his new store fulfills his vision of a “supermarket of appliances” he wanted to establish after he grew out of his location at 735 Crane St.
The new 18,000-square-foot building includes more than 300 appliances on display and full kitchen models built by Zarillo Custom Kitchen Designs. There is 14,000 square feet of showroom space, 3,000 square feet of office space, a special TV room with an adjacent high-end sound room, a conference room, and an employee snack area.
He plans to have a grand opening event in mid-May that will host Metroplex, the city of Schenectady, local builders and other community leaders.
“We’ll be sending invitations out,” Marcella said.
Marcella said so far the store has been well received despite little advertising and mostly word-of-mouth exposure. He expects sales to increase by 8.5 percent in the new store, which is three times the size of his former location. Last year, the business generated sales of $14 million.
A year ago, the Capital Region’s largest independent appliance dealer was close to moving his store elsewhere because of growing pains.
“I really went out on a limb,” he said. “We had to make a decision to go forward or go out. I chose to go forward and I had support from Metroplex and Schenectady Economic Development, M&T Bank and the SBA. It made it worthwhile to take a chance,” Marcella said.
Marcella received a $400,000 loan from the Schenectady Metroplex Development Authority along with a $250,000 facade grant. The business has a payment-in-lieu-of-taxes agreement through Schenectady’s Industrial Development Agency that will have Marcella pay taxes on 50 percent of the assessed value of the property in the first year and then subsequently increase in 5 percentage point increments per year until the full value is reached after a decade.
Marcella’s also generates $800,000 in annual sales tax revenue for the county, according to Metroplex.
At 78, Marcella has been in the appliance business for 63 years. He says competition is good for business despite the economic downturn that has led some dealers to either go out of business, lay off workers, or merge with other dealers.
Marcella’s pricing strategy includes price points for low-, middle, and high-end consumers.
“We give the best price up front. I don’t play a game. We work on a low margin to be competitive. It works,” he said. “People who come to my store know they’re getting the right price and the right service.”