AMERICAN TOWNSHIP — Hefner’s TV has been a part of the Lima community for 68 years.
It’s also been a daily part of Dennis Hefner’s life that whole time. That ends later this month, as the longtime television dealer closes its shop at 712 N. Eastown Road, Lima.
“Even growing up, we had the store phone ring at the house,” said Dennis Hefner, whose father, Roger, opened the original shop on Lima’s South Main Street. “So I mean, it was pretty much my entire life.”
Dennis Hefner will learn in May what it means to be out of the customer service business.
“I’ve been saying it’s bittersweet,” he said. “It’s kind of surreal at this point, but it’s one of those things. I’m 70 now. It’s just time to move on.”
It’s been almost 20 years since the store moved from its second home, on North Metcalf Street, to its current location. In July 2016, his brother, Terry, retired from the business as he turned 65.
Dennis’s son, Chris, and Terry’s son, Dustin, help out part-time at the business. They have full-time jobs, though, with Chris working full-time as a firefighter and paramedic and Dustin as an accountant.
Dennis Hefner said it felt like a natural time to shut down the longtime family business. Since the store shared its plans to close April 29 on its Facebook page and on its digital sign along Eastown Road, people keep stopping by to wish the family well.
“People have been wanting to come in and say, ‘Well, I’m going to get one more from you,’” Dennis Hefner said. “Then there’s just the number of folks stopping in to say ‘hi’ and ‘wish you well.’ Nobody’s yelled at me, which is nice.”
The community has been very supportive of the business over the years, Chris Hefner said.
“We just want to thank local businesses and the local community for supporting local business,” he said. “We wouldn’t have been able to make it this long without all of Lima and the surrounding communities.”
The store made a name for itself with service, originally selling and repairing Zenith televisions before LG bought out the line. In more recent years, Dennis Hefner, who calls himself “a low-tech guy in the high-tech industry,” had to learn to explain smart TVs, WiFi signals and how to reset cable boxes as the television sets themselves became lighter, thinner and more complicated.
“I’ve always tried to treat people the way I’d want to be treated,” Dennis Hefner said.
Barry Electronics will take over LG sales and service, including honoring warranties from Hefner’s. The two businesses worked together informally over the past 15 years.
As for what’s next, there are no specific plans for the location yet. Dennis Hefner plans to definitely spend time away from the televisions he spent most of his lifetime selling and repairing.
“I actually just bought a little 625 square foot cabin (in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan), and we’re going to hopefully be able to spend some time up there,” he said. “Maybe I can fish as much as I really want to for a change.”