A big thanks to Mr. Bob Mikush for sitting down with me to tell the story behind Mikush Maytag Home Appliance Center. This business is filled with history and is yet another example of the resiliency of the people of Ambridge and their love for this town.
Why did you decide to start-up a business in Ambridge?
My grandfather started this business in 1932 after he was awarded the Maytag franchise. I became a 3rd generation owner after I took over the business from my father; accordingly, my own son now holds proprietorship of the store. A lot of my family has worked in this store over the years. I had actually taught for 37 years in Hopewell School District and for CCBC before I took on this role. It was only natural to continue on with the business after my father had passed.
What was your experience like in obtaining financing?
This business started on a shoe-string. We didn’t require a large capital investment but after the collapse of the steel mill, we had to take out a loan to keep the business going. Personally, I think that there is an absence in innovative business owners such as Ford, Carnegie, Rockefeller, Morgan, etc. We need more people with that kind of strength and foresight to revive this economy.
What advice would you have for a beginning business owner?
Especially for business owners looking to Ambridge, you cannot be faint-hearted; small business in general is not for the faint of heart. You need to persevere in your endeavors and the most crucial part of business is valuing your customers, no matter what the business is. Ours has always been carried out in our service.
What was your biggest surprise in starting your business?
The changes in business that have occurred over the past 10 or so years has been the biggest surprise. Due to the globalization of the economy and with all of the international brands flooding the market, it has been a very interesting landscape. Also, when Maytag was bought out by Whirlpool that was hard for our business because we had followed so closely with the values of Maytag and their firm belief in quality service. Fortunately, we have a great customer base in the surrounding areas such as Moon, Robinson, Cranberry, etc. in addition to Ambridge.
How have you been impacted by the community of Ambridge after opening this business?
Ambridge has gone through a number of changes over the years. I have witnessed the move to suburbia, invasion of shopping centers, and the shift in socioeconomic customer base. Truly, I do not see why Ambridge cannot be the next Lawrenceville. We are in a great location and are a good bedroom community with so much potential to grow. Ambridge is one of the best kept secrets around.