After 26 years of selling appliances and electronics, Craig Taylor has gone out on his own to open Whitehouse Appliance.
The business offers a full line of General Electric products — refrigerators, washers and dryers, dishwashers, ranges, microwaves, cook tops, wall ovens, Vent-A-Hoods and freezers.
A lot has changed since Taylor started selling electronics in the 1980s and 1990s, when VCRs were selling for $650 and big-screen TVs were going for $6,000.
“It was phenomenal,” he said. “The electronics infancy … is what I call it.”
While electronics have come full circle, from selling $650 VCRs to $39 DVD players, there haven’t been a lot of changes “you can see” in the appliance industry.
“The main thing they do now is save energy, water, electricity and time,” Taylor said. “Those are the biggest changes I’ve seen.”
About 15 to 20 years ago, a refrigerator would cost $150 in electricity per year, while they now cost about $60 in electricity annually. Washing machines of the past used 45 gallons of water for one load of laundry, while some now can use only 15 gallons per load, he said.
He didn’t know what he wanted to do until he found an advertisement in a newspaper for a sales job, he said. Every aptitude test he had ever taken, starting in grade school, told him he should be in sales, he added.
Taylor took a job with Color Tile, but he soon decided the company was “small potatoes” and began looking for something more. He worked for Highland Super Stores, managing and opening stores in new markets for six years before the company went out of business in 1991.
Taylor moved on to work for Circuit City in Fort Worth and around 1993, came to Tyler to open the now defunct Circuit City. After working for the company for about six years, he worked at Don’s TV & Appliance for 14 years.
Taylor said owning a business is something he and his wife started considering 10 years ago, but a sonogram showing they were expecting twins changed all of that.
Taylor and his wife of 11 years, Courtney, have 9-year-old twins, Michael and Gabriel, as well as Brendon, 15, Jerehme, 24, and Jessica, 22.
But since his sons have gotten older, he began thinking of his old dream again.
“It’s always been lurking in the back of my mind,” he said. “I’m not getting any younger. I’m not growing any more hair. … It was time to put up or shut up.”
“This time we prayed about it and things started happening fast,” he said. The “doors started flying open. … It was hard for me to keep up.”
He said the building in Whitehouse became vacant four months ago when Car Quest Auto Parts moved out. One morning Taylor spent an hour counting nearly 300 cars on the busy section of Texas Highway 110, about a mile south of Loop 49. He said he thought it would be a great location, with people coming from Troup, Henderson and Tyler.
The business opened Sept. 3 and Taylor is planning on hosting a grand-opening celebration when he gets settled.
“There’s never been an appliance store in Whitehouse. … I’m the only one who has ever been, according to the old-timers,” Taylor said
He has only one employee and offers deliveries of his appliance for $40 in town, which includes hauling away the old product and hooking up the new one.