by Kirby Lindsay, posted 20 July 2012
Even driving the speed limit on Aurora Avenue through Fremont, it is easy to see only a blurring of the businesses that dot the sides of the roadway. At Allen Place on Aurora, Teletron Service Company deserves much more than a glance – particularly since the business has maintained its location – and its dedication to quality service – for 50 years.
Repair Done Well (& Fast)
“We try to do the best job we can, as fast as we can,” explained Teletron owner Curt Wilmoth. Also, they have no problem with might seem like a stupid question.
Teletron will repair of a variety of electronics including microwave ovens, stereos (including turntables,) and DVD/VCR players. During a recent tour of the shop, the technicians were a work on fixing a massage chair. Yet, the majority of the work the company does is with televisions – plasma, LED, LCD and the new 3-D technology sets. Teletron can attempt a repair of any problem, but Wilmoth advised that a crack in your flat screen means, “time for a new TV.”
When asked for a brand of television that won’t fail, Wilmoth admitted, “they all fail.” Instead, he advised getting an extended warranty. “They are all susceptible to failure,” he said, “why not pay a little extra for the extended coverage?” For those weighing the question of repair or replace on a non-warranty item, Wilmoth recommended paying for repairs when it costs half the original price of the item.
A History Of Service
Teletron began at Allen Place in 1962, as branch of Packard Bell Electronics, managed by Roy Wilmoth, doing factory service on Packard Bell TVs. Back when, Curt Wilmoth explained, “televisions came in big, wood cabinets with built in stereo speakers.”
In 1978, Packard Bell sold out its branches nation-wide, and Roy Wilmoth bought the business. He changed the name to Teletron Service and expanded the variety of equipment repairs they could handle.
When Todd Shipyard laid off pipe welders in 1985, Curt Wilmoth found himself unemployed, and so he went to work for his Dad. For several years, the son ran the company until, about 10 years ago, he bought out his father and officially took over as owner.
Television Technology & Trends
While he hasn’t personally done repairs at Teletron for all of its 50 years, Curt Wilmoth has still gained a wide base of experience with a variety of TVs. As he pointed out, the new sets, with the advanced technology, “are actually simpler to work on now.”
Most plasma TVs contain about 10 circuit boards, and LCD/LED sets have about 3. Technicians can use advanced testing equipment that have lights that blink and show, “exactly which board to replace,” Wilmoth admitted. Yet, “in my opinion,” Wilmoth observed, “I don’t think the new flat screens are as good as the old tube sets.” An old box TV could last approximately 17 years, he observed, while new sets will function for 5 – 7.
The manufacturers do keep coming up with new technology, but Wilmoth expressed no concern with Teletron staying current. He did joke, “we need a new thing, like a VCR. My Dad made his retirement on VCR repairs.” As for the next trend, Wilmoth did put in one vote. “I just hope it doesn’t get so easy to fix,” a television, DVD, microwave or stereo, he mused, “that people can fix them by themselves.”
A Stable & Stationary Location
Teletron has stayed consistent in its approach to service, and its location – as the electronics and the neighborhood around it continually change. Wilmoth voiced his gratitude to neighbors who have worked hard, particularly with FAWN, to fight crime in the area. However, he really has little concern about changes coming to the properties along Aurora. “It doesn’t matter,” he observed, “access is important.”
Currently, a majority of repairs performed by trained Teletron technicians is warranty work, done for customers that bring in their electronics based on a website address. Fortunately, the location of Teletron remains easy-to-describe, and easy to get to.
The location also serves will for the Teletron trucks, for going out on service calls, doing pick-ups and deliveries, and bringing in parts. The parking lot access can also accommodate Teletron corporate clients. Teletron corporate accounts include sports bars, professional kitchens and larger facilities from Marysville to Kent and from the Puget Sound to Issaquah. At Safeco Field and Swedish Hospital Teletron technicians keep the televisions on, while at Children’s Hospital, Applebee’s, Taco del Mar, KFC and Red Robin restaurants they keep the microwave ovens in good condition.
Teletron also repairs defective television returned by customers to any Costco store across five states. The sets get checked out and repaired before going back to Costco for sale to surplus stores or liquidators.
Easy & SAFE Access
Wilmoth has, “tried to work with the City,” he said of the traffic flow by his business. That is, he wants to see the City build a barrier on Aurora to keep drivers from turning a sharp right onto Allen Place. The turn gives vehicles easy access to the Teletron parking lot but only after it has dangerously crossed an on-ramp. “I have seen a lot of accidents,” he remarked, “and I don’t want ‘em.”
To find out about Teletron Service Company, (‘Service…is our middle name!’) call 206/633-0789.
And for those who want to bring their stereo, DVD player, television, microwave oven or massage chair, Wilmoth strongly advises customers to approach from Allen Place, off Fremont Avenue. It isn’t the fastest way, but it will keep this stalwart business from being a blur you once again passed by.
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©2012 Kirby Lindsay. This column is protected by intellectual property laws, including U.S. copyright laws. Reproduction, adaptation or distribution without permission is prohibited.