You can buy the latest flat-screen smart television at Cy’s TV Service – or find a part for that console from the 1970s lurking in your basement.
The store at 21st and Broadway opened in 1962 and doesn’t look a day over 50.
With old comic strips and electrical diagrams taped to the walls and what appears to be a couple hundred cubby holes holding fuses, switches, etc., it won’t be mistaken for a big box store.
But there are plenty of gleaming new TVs, refrigerators, kitchen ranges, microwaves, washers and dryers as well. Cy’s has survived by offering a combination of new and used products, plus service by the same family that has owned it since the beginning.
“A big part of the store is second- and third-generation customers,” owner Cy Gruenbacher said. “And some first-(generation), thankfully.”
“They’re always telling us, ‘Please don’t ever leave, we count on you,’ ” his daughter, Alicia Harris, added.
Gruenbacher, a Colwich native, started Cy’s after working several years selling TVs and appliances for a Firestone store in the same neighborhood. “They were home and auto” in those days, Gruenbacher said of the famed tire maker.
Gruenbacher remembers “carrying around a tube caddy” on service calls to homes in the days before transistors replaced tubes. “One size might fit a half-dozen different models,” he said. “I carried a couple hundred different tubes.”
As TVs became less cumbersome to move, house calls decreased, but the store still makes them, in addition to delivering and installing products.
The store performs a fair amount of service on TVs and radios that have been around for decades.
“You have to look all over the world sometimes to find” the necessary parts, Gruenbacher said. “And we still have a lot of old parts, too.”
In its heyday, Cy’s employed as many as 10 people. Today, the workforce is family – Gruenbacher, his daughter and sons Vince and Tom. Harris is the office manager, while her brothers service the products.
Tom said following his father into business was the natural thing to do.
Family members estimate that maybe a half-dozen similar independent TV and appliance dealers also still offer service in the area.
The elder Gruenbacher, who’s 84, said he continues working because “I couldn’t sit still, I guess.”
If he ever does retire, his children plan to keep the business doing – “although it’d be kind of hard to run without him,” Harris said.