ALPENA — Young’s Appliance has been a staple of the U.S.-23 South business district for many years, and its owner, Bob Young, has always looked for innovative ways to provide customers with new, exciting products and services.
Now, Young is in the process of adding to his business and property portfolio. He is purchasing a building adjacent to the ones he currently owns and intends to develop it.
Over the years, his store, repair facility, and storage space has formed a campus, Young said, and the newly acquired structure allows him to stock-up on inventory, so people don’t have to wait for long delivery times or worry about supply-chain issues. He said eventually the new building will have its own showroom that will display overstock and clearance items.
“With the supply chain issues we have seen the last several years, we have been sort of hit and miss, and the public has been wonderful, but it has been sort of the best of times and the worst of times,” he said. “We are going to make things better by having more inventory, more showroom, and possibly a flooring outlet.”
Young said eventually he may choose to connect all of the buildings, but there is not a specific timeline in place yet.
“We have been doing this for 50 years, so maybe this is the last big hurrah that puts us on a level as a regional player in all the things we do business in,” Young said.
Like most other retailers, Young said many people prefer to shop online, but he added there are still many who want to see, feel, and touch the furniture and electronics he has in stock.
“People still want to come in and sit on a couch, look at the picture on a TV and you just can’t do that online,” he said. “The Young’s Appliance presence is also huge and the website’s showroom is fantastic, but that still isn’t the only way to shop.”
Young said the project at the new building could begin in the coming weeks. Staff is already staging up things and much of the inventory stored at the former Neiman’s Family Market will be moved soon afterward.
Young is leasing the old grocery store to house his extra inventory.
“I would say by fall we will have as much as possible on the property and then afterward, in the next couple years, we will do all the things we need to do to wrap up the U.S.-23 front appearance,” he said. “The retail campus we will end up with will be nothing else we see in Alpena and it will be a great home product shopping experience. So stay tuned.”
Young has seen many changes to Alpena’s business landscape and watched many businesses come and go around him. He said there are a lot of independent, small retailers, but he expects changes to the U.S.-23 South corridor in the coming years.
He said he envisions a blend of new housing and businesses in the years ahead.
“I think you’ll see positive evolution and justified evolution,” Young said. “I would think the growth of the mixed use of homes and businesses is important. What if we could take the huge parking lot at Joann’s Fabrics and turn it into a neighborhood block with 50 homes? We need to change the thinking from retail, to mixed use on Lake Huron. Where we have gas stations and restaurants and all of the mixed use needs.”