TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - It was Toledo's last privately-owned television store. Now Phil's TV and Appliance is closing for good. The store has been in business along Sylvania Avenue in west Toledo nearly 60 years.
The store is set to close in June. Like so many small businesses, Phil's TV fell victim to the economy and changing consumer habits.
As the shelves slowly empty out, employee Dave Dusseau is looking for a new job.
"It's kind of, well, it's kind of like home. We've always been kind of like a family," said Dusseau.
Like families, times change. Store owner Randy Auslander is retiring. He had hoped to sell his store, but there were no buyers. No one was interested in Toledo's last TV store, a far cry from the 40 in business 25 years ago.
Over the years, Auslander was forced to lower prices to stay competitive.
"Our count has stayed more or less level, but you have to pay your employees and the rent with dollars, not with count," said Auslander.
He said he did compete with the big box stores.
"We've always been able to compete on price, certainly exceed them on service, and yet people don't even come in here," said Auslander.
Younger customers did not buy in and he was forced to close.
"I look at the obituaries in the paper and see my customers dying out and that's what's slowly, but surely, happening in the business," explained Auslander.
Gone with the store are the knowledgeable service and personal touch that drew long-time customers Sharon and Don O'Rourke.
"This is the only place we come," said O'Rourke.
They heard the store was closing and stopped by one last time.
"You need something fixed, you need information, they're right there on the spot. You don't get that in the big box stores," said O'Rourke.
The remaining TVs are marked down to cost, and stands and accessories are now priced below cost. Everything has to go before Phil's TV closes for good next month.