Local business looks forward to grand opening
Tuesday, August 27, 2013 3:25 AM
Hard work, determination and 14-hour days are finally paying off for Phil and Cyndy Sheldon as they prepare for the grand opening of the new Valley Appliance and the relocated Sheldon Plumbing and Heating Sept. 5 through 7.
Sheldon’s Plumbing and Heating and Valley Appliance will be celebrating their grand opening September 5 to 7. From left: Owners Phil and Cyndy Sheldon, Matt Ramaker, Todd Merkel and Deb Scrabeck. Not pictured is Tony Boland. PAULA VAGTS/ SPRING VALLEY TRIBUNE
The Sheldons began their business in 1991 out of a small shed, with no employees but themselves. Within a month they hired their first employee and now they cover a radius of 30 miles and have expanded their services to include gas fireplaces, appliances and repair.
They had moved the business into town once before, but then moved it back out to a shed on their property. This summer during one of the hottest weeks of the year, the Sheldons began the process of moving their business into the downtown building.
The Sheldons bought the former True Value building this spring, knowing there was a lot of work to be done due to the 2011 fire.
Since that time, they have been surrounded by a flurry of activity, with everyone busy trying to get the building back to its former glory.
The best surprises for the Sheldons were hidden just beneath the surface.
"I was kind of peeking through where there was one tile missing in the ceiling; we didn't have electricity in here yet so I couldn't really see what was up there. I finally got a flashlight to see what was up there and then I yelled at Cyndy to come take a look at the ceiling," explained Phil of their excitement at discovering the unique tongue and groove ceiling.
The original brick walls were exposed when the sheetrock was taken down. Each of these discoveries now adds to the authentic character of the building, which was the biggest selling point for the Sheldons when they purchased the property.
To date, the Sheldons have also worked to rewire throughout all three structures, add office space, convert extra space into four separate rental spaces and fix the floor, which had sagged four inches during its 150 years.
The couple found the fire damage was less substantial than they first thought, with the smoke damage being the most significant.
Cyndy shared that the hardest part of restoring the building was trying to decide where the business was going to go, since the property is actually made up of three conjoined buildings, but once that was determined the work went much smoother than anticipated.
Work has not yet begun on the four upstairs apartments, but they are hoping they can have them ready to rent by the end of summer next year.
The four rental spaces are completed and three are still available for rent. Their first renter is Scott Springer, an attorney from Preston.
They are still working on replacing the windows with high efficiency versions; this will be one of the final steps toward their goal of making the building more efficient.
The cooperation of their employees - Matt Ramaker, who has been with them for 17 years, Todd Merkel, who has been employed by the business for 12 years, and their newest members, Tony Boland, the new appliance and service technician, who has five years of experience and graduated from Building, Utilities, Mechanics (BUM) School and, with over 13 years of experience, their salesperson, Deb Scrabeck - is what made the move and rehabilitation much easier than expected.
For the restoration, the Sheldons made it a point to use as many local contractors as possible, keeping to the belief that staying local is for the best of the community.
The Sheldons also attribute the effort of the Spring Valley EDA and city council to make grants available for local businesses for their successful move.
"We've had a lot of encouragement from them and they've been very helpful for us. There are so many benefits along with using the grants; it creates a lot of jobs for the local contractors and businesses all over the area."
And for all the Spring Valley area has given to them and their business, the Sheldons make sure they give back to the area, as well.
They will be donating a new high-efficiency furnace to the Spring Valley Food Shelf to replace the one that was damaged when the shelter's water heater broke and flooded the basement. They are hoping to get it installed this week.
"We are all about promoting and doing what we can for Spring Valley," Phil said.
They also make it a point to shop local, which is much simpler now that they can enjoy being within walking distance to the shops, eateries, banks and everything the city has to offer. Being more visible to the community is a great benefit for the business, as well.
"Every day someone will stop in to see what we've been doing," the couple shared. They say the feedback has been nothing but positive, which really makes the move and long hours worth it.
But, they say, there is one slight drawback to moving the business into town.
"We miss our 300 step commute to work...but it's a lot of fun coming into town every day now."
The grand opening event runs Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. The couple is excited to be in downtown and welcome people to take a look.
"It's so exciting to hear that door open and hear Deb start her sales pitch," they noted.