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Here’s the Dirt: Business that recycles appliances has new home

Fri., Dec. 31, 2010

Firm has given second life to 38,000 household items

Ron Hand has moved his Appliance Recycling and Wholesale business to this much larger warehouse at 3405 E. Sprague Ave. Hand has been in business for more than 20 years and he has put back in service thousands of appliances people have asked him to repair.

Ron Hand proves we don’t have to throw out everything that breaks. For 26 years the Spokane businessman has repaired home appliances and sold them to customers locally and nationwide.

His company, Appliance Recycling and Wholesale Inc., recently reopened in a converted warehouse at 3405 E. Sprague Ave., the former Kirishian Floor Center site.

Over the past eight years, Hand has fixed and sold about 38,000 ranges, refrigerators, washers, dryers and dishwashers. How does he know? “I put in a computer to track sales, and my count is now up to 38,000,” he said.

He does repairs for people who want to save an appliance instead of buying a new one. “I just want to put those items back on the street,” he said.

A good number of his regulars are low-income residents who know they’ll find decent appliances at reasonable prices. “That’s really what I try to do, is help people,” he added.

He acquires most of his inventory from multiple sources who have sold to him for years. He won’t divulge their names. If he did, consumers could just go straight to those dealers, he said.

Hand had to leave his main warehouse, at Freya Street and Wellesley Avenue, because state highway officials are taking properties in that area for the north-south freeway.

The Sprague showroom, used for retail and repair work, has about 7,000 square feet. It’s open six days a week, with a shorter Saturday schedule, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Hand uses a second facility and warehouse at 1007 E. Marietta Ave., in Spokane. That 13,000-square-foot shop is open to people looking for appliance parts, not whole appliances. They’re allowed to inspect the large volume of items waiting to be repaired and buy something they spot.

“They’ll say they want this thing, that thing and that one there, and we’ll repair them,” Hand said.

He’s also doing a significant business as a wholesale outlet for a number of area apartment building owners. Those owners turn to Hand to outfit furnished apartments with items that don’t cost top dollar but will last a number of years.

“I’m not the only company in town doing that, but I’m the largest,” he said.

Hand credits Pete Thompson, of Stonemark Real Estate Company LLC., for arranging the lease for the new space.

“He worked a lot harder than the amount of money he made on the effort,” he said.

Here’s the Dirt is a weekly report on development and business changes in the Inland Northwest. E-mail or call (509) 459-5528.

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