For more than 50 years, Gary Carlson, 74, has sold televisions in a building behind his home at 430 S. Cedar in Marion. But three weeks ago, he moved his business, Carlson?s TV & Satellite, to Main Street.
?I always had the intention of opening a store on Main Street?I guess I wasn?t motivated enough (until now),? he said with a smile.
One of the main reasons for moving, he said, was because sales were ?iffy? at his former site.
?It wasn?t a good location, and since I have (my son) Brad with me, he does my installs and about everything else in here when I am not,? Carlson said.
He opened his television business in 1957. At the time, he said no one in the county, as far as he knew, was providing the service.
And the business has expanded over the years.
?We do installs for security cameras,? Carlson said, ?and have already done a number of businesses, schools and the (Marion County) jail.?
At his new location, Carlson carried over that part of the business.
?We also do DIRECTV installs and repair,? he said. ?We are not dealers, but we service for Flint Hills Rural Develop?ment.?
As for his product line, Carlson said he sells only Toshiba televisions.
?Toshiba is very much top of the line, along with Mitsubishi, Panasonic and Sony,? he said.
Carlson has seen the television industry change dramatically over the past 53 years.
?Televisions were black and white when I first started in this business,? he said. ?In 1965, color televisions started hitting, and besides our business here, we had a store in Peabody.?
He said he closed the Peabody store when a couple of other stores came into town. But he still did their service.
The most exciting time in the television business was when the product changed from tube to transmitter.
?That?s when we could see what was ahead, and we knew it would be going to integrated circuits,? he said.
With technology advancements, more education was needed, Carlson added.
The price of televisions has actually gone down in the past few years.
?Right now our price for a 32-inch is less than someone would have paid five years ago, and that?s the same with the 55-inch as well,? he said.
Free television exists
Carlson said he is an advocate of the antenna.
?It?s the only free TV there is,? he said. ?Buy an antenna and it?s free forever. We average about nine to 11 stations with an antenna.?
With the right antenna, a person can get the major broadcast networks such as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS and others that are broadcast in high definition.
Outdoor antennas are more ideal for people living in rural areas that are miles away from broadcast towers. But even people in towns can benefit from the right antenna.
One of the services Carlson and son Brad offer is installing antennas for air digital programming.
Carlson said he is competitive when it comes to prices and overall service commitment.
?Televisions have no warranty,? he said, ?but you can buy a contract.?
He said someone who buys a television from a multi-national retailer won?t know where to go to get it repaired.
Other places, such as Best Buy, do take care of service after the sale and Sears does its own work, too.
Carlson said he hasn?t had any problems with the televisions he sells. If one came up, though, he said he would take it to Wichita for repairs and give his customer a loaner in the interim.
For more information about televisions, antennas or other services, Carlson?s TV & Satellite is open from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the 1111 E. Main St.