|Schiermeyer pulls the plug on TV repair after 50 years|
|Written by Becca Brandt|
The beginning of June will mark the end of 50 years in the television repair business for Bill Schiermeyer, owner of Bill’s Radio and TV in Holyoke. The sale of the building is currently under contract, and Schiermeyer will officially enter retirement when the sale closes the first week of June.
After pursuing a passion for electronics that began in high school, Schiermeyer has decided to retire, saying, “I’m 69. It’s about time to enjoy life instead of being tied down five and a half days a week.”
Bill Schiermeyer stands by a couple of the older novelty television sets in his store. They are some of only a few remaining items left at Bill’s Radio and TV as Schiermeyer cleans up shop in preparation for retirement. —Enterprise photo
Schiermeyer has always known he liked electronics and began putting his skills to use in the 1960s as an employee at Bill’s Radio and TV, owned then by Bill and Leona Mason. After completing high school, Schiermeyer attended Wichita Technical Institute in Wichita, Kan., for two years. Then he came back to Holyoke where he continued working at Bill’s TV from 1964-65.
In 1966, Schiermeyer joined the military for four years as an electronic technician in the Navy. Following his brief absence, Schiermeyer returned to Holyoke where he worked for the Masons until 1985.
The Masons sold their business to Schiermeyer after 38 years in business on April 1, 1987. Orginally opened on April 1, 1947 as Bill’s Radio Sales, the name was changed in 1956 when televisions were becoming more popular.
Schiermeyer’s new store was located one block west of the stoplight at 136 W. Denver before moving to its current location at 115 S. Interocean in 1992. Helping with the business were Patricia Olofson, who did bookkeeping, and Elton Olofson, who assisted with antenna and electric fence work.
Over the course of his career, Schiermeyer has noticed the changes in Holyoke. “There has been a lot of growth, but the town has maintained itself,” he explained. He also noted the changes in the electronics industry during the past 50 years.
Everyday technological advancements are being made, and Schiermeyer experienced the effects of this firsthand as he worked to stay educated about the newest trends. When he started off, all televisions were made with tubes and transistors. Through advancements, television sets are now solid-state devices, meaning they do not contain moving parts.
Black and white TVs have been replaced by color sets, and antennas have been replaced by satellite dishes. Most recently, flat-screen televisions with LCD and plasma displays have taken the place of old box TVs. Schiermeyer had to read up on the latest television technology and take courses to stay up to date with his business.
As the industry has changed, televisions have become more affordable to buy, but the cost of parts to repair an item has greatly increased. Schiermeyer realized that his business could no longer be as profitable as it once was. “Things are nicer now, but the work used to be more enjoyable,” he added as a reason to pursue retirement.
Although, he is going to miss seeing all the people, Schiermeyer is going to enjoy the extra time he has to garden, go fishing and travel. He is leaving the TV repair behind but plans to continue working on electric fences in the surrounding area.
Holyoke Enterprise May 22, 2014