Longtime Sonora appliance center to close in Jan.

Union Democrat staff

A 60-year-old Sonora area appliance store is closing under pressure from a poor economy, falling sales and competition from big box retailers.

Algeo's Appliance store at 14235 Tuolumne Road will go out of business on Jan. 31, according to owner Ray Kelleher. While the store will close, Kelleher will continue to operate his appliance repair business online and at various vendors in Tuolumne County.

The store, which has had four owners since it was first opened by Jim

Algeo in the 1950s, suffered from dwindling sales after Lowe's Home

Improvement store opened in December 2010. The 94,000-square-foot

retail giant, based in Mooresville, N.C., sapped about 30 percent of

Algeo's business, Kelleher said. The entire appliance industry was also

down due to the lack of new home construction.

"It's a bummer," he said. "Lowe's took a big chunk out of our

business and the whole industry is down 35 percent across the United


The 5,000-square-foot store has four employees and is having an

out-of-business sale to unload various washing machines, ranges, wall

ovens and other major appliances. It carries "A-grade" appliances from

brands like Frigidaire, Electrolux, Whirlpool and Maytag, Kelleher said.

Kelleher said locally owned businesses are better for the community

because most of the money they take in is spent locally. His business

sponsored 4-H, the High Sierra Baseball League, the Humane Society and

youth soccer.

Contact Ryan Campbell at rcampbell@uniondemocrat.com or 588-4526.

The Union Democrat
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