New business owner continues legacy of Brewer appliance shop

Published: Jun. 8, 2023 at 6:10 PM EDT
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BREWER, Maine (WABI) As the saying goes: when one door closes, another opens.

That’s exactly what’s happening in Brewer.

It’s not easy to replace a store that had been around for about 80 years, like Perkins Appliance on Center Street in Brewer. But that’s exactly what Gary Coleman is doing at General Appliance just a couple doors down.

“Just kind of walked into it,” said Gary Coleman, owner, General Appliance. “Al retired and I hated to see it go.”

When Al Elkin closed down the shop that had been in his family for multiple generations, it could’ve left a huge hole in the community.

Coleman was determined not to let that happen.

“When Gary showed an interest I said, ‘We need to talk. If you’re interested at all, this would be a wonderful thing for this to carry on,’” said Elkin.

“Anytime he wants to come in and hang out, I’m all for it!” Coleman said with a laugh.

In addition to offering all the same services Elkin did, Coleman still makes time for the house calls he was making before he opened up shop.

“I do calls in the morning before I come in and I do calls on the way home when I leave,” Coleman said.

And in between, any extra time is spent tinkering in his shop.

“I do a lot of reconditioning and rebuilding for people,” Coleman said.

TV5 asked Coleman what the oldest piece was he’s ever worked on.

“Mine!” He answered. “My mother’s washer is 42 years old... Still running!”

They don’t make ‘em like they used to.

“That’s a fact!” he agrees.

Whether it’s a 42-year-old Maytag or the newest model on the market, Coleman wants every former customer of Elkin to know you’re still in good hands with him.

“We’re still here and we’re willing to help them if we can, plain and simple. If they can find us, we can help them. We’ll do the best we can,” said Coleman.