Washers on Main Street Don’t Compute
We have driven past those washers and dryers sitting outside in the elements, wondering why the City of Garland doesn’t make Staten Appliances tidy up their property. With the revitalization of Downtown Garland, such measures would, it seems, be appropriate.
No one we questioned seemed to know anything about Staten’s used appliance business at 132 Main Street, so we decided to check it out. We parked out front, on crumbling pavement, in front of a line of washings and dryers and made note of the fact that there is no sidewalk on that part of Main Street.
As we walked through the indoor/outdoor appliance store, we were approached by the owner, Harold Staten.
Mr. Staten is a very forthcoming fellow, who didn’t hesitate to answer my questions. My first question was whether or not those machines outside were in working order. He said he got that question 20 times a day. Those machines, he said, are “ready to go”. He was quick to point out that all the appliances are Whirlpool products, and none of them are computerized. No fancy schmancy decorator colored front loaders on this lot, no sir!
Staten believes Samsung should stick to designing and manufacturing phones. According to Staten, the old machines lasted about 20 years, while a lovely front loading Samsung will last about 2 years. His refurbished Whirlpools start at $225 and dryers start at $100, depending on type and capacity. According to Consumer Reports, new washers are priced at $400 to $1,700, so considering buying used may be a good idea.
Staten invited us in to see the “main floor”, and inside there were rows of stoves and refrigerators, as well as laundry machines. The interior felt more like a shed than a store, but Staten said he owned the lot in the rear and could build a new building back there, but that, he insists, would ruin his business.
His customers, would turn around and leave if they pulled up in front of a fancy building. The customers are bargain shoppers, and he may have a point. Harold Staten has been doing business at that location for 43 years. He is the second generation of Statens to operate at that location, as his father, Red Staten, founded the business in the 40’s.
The property, now owned by Staten reaches all the way back to Avenue A. When asked about City of Garland Code Compliance, he said he hasn’t been bothered by them for 25 years. He says the indoor/outdoor used appliance operation is “grandfathered in.” Translated, that means that regulations that apply today did not apply when the Statens began doing business at that location. Unfortunately, zoning and building codes are not retroactive, in most cases. Harold Staten is quite aware and appreciative of all the improvements that have been made and are being made on Main Street.
There is little hope for any dramatic change in the outside appearance of Staten’s Appliances, but perhaps his son, Ashley Staten, will climb aboard the revitalization bandwagon and clean up the front of their lot. A sidewalk would also improve things somewhat. Just as computers should not, according to Staten, be put in humid, wet or steamy places, neither should laundry machines be displayed in the front yard. At least that’s what many of us who enter Downtown Garland from first Street happen to believe.