Paul and Marlene Page have owned Marts Appliance Service, at 7423 East Valley Parkway, since 1964. Since 2002, they have been the only small appliance “fix-it” shop left in the county. December 31 will be the last day for the long-time Escondido business.
“It’s the end of an era,” said Paul. “We’re like the buggy whip makers of the 21st Century.” “Because we’re old,” Marlene jokingly said.
At one time, Marts was the factory- authorized service center for most name-brand small kitchen appliances, lamps, and power tools. But as explained by Paul, more and more companies are less likely to provide a supply of after-market parts.
“We can gets parts for products assembled in Mexico, but usually not in China,” said Paul. It’s become cheaper for companies to provide warranty service by simply providing the consumer a new product. After the warranty expires, consumers usually end up buying a newer version of the item. Most small appliance brands have a newer, updated version on the market every six months.
A large portion of their business was servicing more expensive powered construction tools — drills, saws, and sanders. Servicing espresso machines and KitchenAid mixers also provided steady customers. “We’ve got 10 mixers right now we are servicing,” said Paul.
Both of their service technicians, Antonio and Jamie, have a combined 44 years experience serving small appliances. But the small shop never got into trying to repair complicated electronic circuitry.
The real reason behind the couple wanting to retire? Four grandchildren are graduating this summer — three high schoolers and one from college. The couple have never been able to travel away from their business for more than a week’s time.
“The sad thing is,” said Paul, “people are coming in now saying they never knew we were here.” Customers of Marts will be referred to Orange County’s California Electric Service, a fix-it shop in Lake Forrest.