Blue Ridge Appliance & Hearth Inc. is cooking up a storm, in offering a variety of affordable quality appliances and decades of industry experience and product and service knowledge.
The business is owned and run by the Glenn family — Eugene and Sharon, and their son Michael. Eugene has worked as a technician for 48 years, since 1965 starting with local Brunson’s Furniture. He worked briefly for General Electric, when it had a corporate-run appliance company.
Eugene Glenn went into business for himself in 1994, based out of his basement. Two years later, in 1996, his Blue Ridge Appliance & Hearth incorporated. Mike came on board full-time in that same year, when he graduated from East Henderson High School.
The site, for the past nine years, has been at 2126 Spartanburg Hwy. (U.S. 176) three blocks south of Upward Road in East Flat Rock.
All the while, the Glenns have sold appliances and also a healthy stock of gas log fireplaces and gas heaters spread out in the initial portion of the showroom. Those reflect the “hearth” aspect, to go with cooking, washing and refrigeration units. Brands include Whirlpool, Kitchenaid, LG, U-Line, ASCO, Blomberg, Scotsman and Speed Queen. Many still assemble their products in this country, Mike Glenn noted.
Mike is among four licensed technicians who go into the field. “I do a little bit of everything — service calls, whatever’s needed,” he said. Mike and Eugene recently got more training, which they demonstrate to their co-workers on job calls.
Further, Eugene’s technical know-how helps him as a salesman in factoring in technological impact, and in helping customers figure out repair needs. His hunch is a first step. “I can pre-diagnose, so we don’t go out in the field without the right parts they might need.” Eugene and Sharon help answer the phone and are part of a staff of seven people.
Mike caught on with the main lesson that customers are “looking for quality, at a good price” and knowledgeable and dependable service that his family provides.
The Glenns can help a person match what units they have with new appliances they are looking for. A kitchen space shows sample appliances, all in sturdy stainless steel, set within cabinets (which they do not sell) to give an idea of the look.
Also displayed are “integrated” units, such as a dishwasher and an ice maker. They have doors with painted steel, designed to be covered by wood panels (also not sold by the store) to fit in with cabinets. Eugene noted that style emerged in the late Seventies, while units first fit under a counter 20 years ago.
Over the years, electrical appliance technology has risen with touch-screen electronics while design has become more “efficient,” Eugene said. “There are less moving parts that can go bad. There are more options on equipment.” Yet as he and Mike notes, the electronics may require periodic repairs to extend the unit’s life. But when that is done, Eugene said, “they’re as durable as the old ones.”
A feature that emerged in the last couple of years is an oven programmed with recipes and basic preparation tips, such as how hot and long to heat up certain entrees. An electronic sensor better enables an oven to bake at a consistent temperature. This offset ovens cooling below a set temperature, if too close to a refrigerator.
Refrigerators run quieter and more efficiently, due to modern compressors, Eugene added. Mike noted, “they use less electricity.” With thinner walls, there is room for more compartments than in decades past.
Humidity control is improved. Higher-end models have temperature-controlled drawers, rather than relying solely on slide vents. They add humidity to keep food moist and fresher rather than drying out with louvers closed and, with them open, the unit “acts like a dryer” letting air in to dry up excessive moisture, Mike explained. He said with such perks, appliance makers are “trying to catch the market, according to what people want.”
A key is for the customer to get what is most useful. “So many configurations go into cooking,” Mike said. “It depends on the person’s lifestyles.” A convection oven “moves warm air through the oven cavity,” he said. “It cooks a roast in less time. But it’s not good for cakes, which it can dry out.”
Microwaves are now “better designed,” Mike said. “They can defrost food, without actually cooking it” prematurely and partially. Also, they have been proven as a “safe way to heat food, not so harmful to come into contact with” as first figured.
New washing machines “use less water, and waste less water” than earlier models, Mike Glenn said. “They spin at a higher RPM, to ring that water out. Then (less-drenched) clothes dry faster in the dryer.”
Call 693-1832, for more on Blue Ridge Appliance & Hearth Inc.