Press-Republican

November 18, 2012

Lee Appliance in business more than 50 years

DAN HEATH
Press-Republican

PLATTSBURGH — Lee Appliance Company has been in business for more than 50 years.

The store, presently owned by Gary Bertrand and his wife, Shelley, opened in 1960. During the ensuing years, it has evolved from a small-appliance store located on Margaret Street to a premier kitchen, appliance, carpet, tile and flooring center.

Located at 593 Route 3 in the Town of Plattsburgh, Lee Appliance has 19 employees. They have about 20,000 square feet of space under the main roof as well as additional storage in the back.

Bertrand said the flooring part of the business has grown steadily over the years.

“Appliances are now the smallest part of our business,” Bertrand said, adding that they carry more high-end appliances as a result.

Flooring choices include ceramic tile, luxury vinyl tile, carpet and hardwood and laminate flooring.

“If it goes on the floor, we probably have it,” he said.

Some of the employees in the Flooring Department have more than 30 years experience. 

Luxury vinyl tile seems to be the new hot item, Bertrand said. Ceramic tile also remains very popular.

The flooring section has hardwood products from companies such as Kahrs, Mohawk and Armstrong and laminate products from companies such as Mohawk, Shaw, Armstrong and Bruce.

Bertrand said Kahrs has offered floating hardwood flooring since 1857. An engineered flooring system is a  necessity for radiant-heat applications. 

The company’s property is packed full of display space. The northern portion features about 15 kitchen displays, complete with appliances and cabinets.

Bertrand said they have three kitchen designers on staff. That includes John Mayette, who is a Certified Kitchen Designer.

In addition to the work to acquire certification, he undergoes constant training to stay up to date on the latest techniques on renovating or designing a home.

He said the company’s next move seems to be toward doing more in the bathroom side of the business, such as walk-in showers. They already have one large walk-in display.

Bertrand said they have carried Schluter System products since 1993.

The ceramic-tile area has enough inventory that most customers can take their order home that same day.

They are a certified Daltile dealer. That allows them to use that company’s Statements program, where customers see what can be done with the products on a computerized design display.

Other tile lines include Arley, American Olean, Mohawk and Armstrong. 

In addition to the huge inventory of products available, the carpet, tile and flooring display areas have a large selection of samples that customers can use to place custom orders. Lee Appliance also carries all the supplies needed for the do-it-yourself installer, Bertrand said.

There is also a fully staffed Service Department.

Lee Appliance prides itself on customer service. They’ve had a lot of community support during their years in business, Bertrand said.

“We meet some nice people. We have great customers,” he said.

That includes second- and third-generation customers, who they work hard to keep.

He said the ability to keep some employees for 30 years or more helps Lee Appliance bring great expertise to the table.

The company serves about a 60-mile radius, he said. It extends as far as Tupper Lake, Ticonderoga, the Canadian border and Lake Champlain.

The company was originally known as FitzPatrick and Howell. Bertrand said the business was next acquired by Lee Mooso. 

Under the ownership of Mooso and Edward Scardaccione, the name was changed to Lee Appliance.

Bertrand said he started to work at the company in 1970. He and a partner bought the business in 1980, and Bertrand and his wife took over as sole owners in 1995.

Lee Appliance is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Payment can be made by cash, check or credit card, with in-store financing available.

There is also a layaway plan and gift certificates are available.

“We’ll deliver anything we sell,” Bertrand said.

For more information, call 563-0900 or visit www.leeappliance.com.

Email Dan Heath dheath@pressrepublican.com.