Household appliances, like washers and dryers, refrigerators and dishwashers, are our daily companions, making life easier.
Who among us would want to go back to beating clothes on a rock; cooking every day over an open fire; or hauling ice for an ice box?
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So it is important that we make careful decisions when choosing these time-and-toil-savers, and speak to experts we trust to help us make the correct decisions for our individual lifestyles.
Advanced Maytag, located at 548 S. Roselle Road, Schaumburg, has been selling these types of "white goods" to Chicago area residents since 1956. Ralph Lindblom started the company, beginning with a small appliance repair business in his father's Chicago vacuum cleaner repair shop. Shortly thereafter, he purchased an existing appliance store near the Harlem-Irving Plaza, which was moved to a larger store in Franklin Park in 1977.
In 1994, Lindblom's sons Rich and Bud took over the business where they had been working since before either could drive, and in 2003 they moved it to the current location in Schaumburg.
"We specialize in major appliances and have become experts on them," Rich Lindblom said. "We do not sell the so-called 'brown goods,' which are electronics. We are dedicated to selling and servicing kitchen and laundry room appliances."
That is why Advanced Maytag's sales staff is always on top of the latest trends in appliance product lines.
For instance, front-load, high-efficiency washing machines are actually less popular than they were a few years ago, Lindblom said. Many people never liked the front load feature, even though they did like the high-efficiency washing they did.
So manufacturers have developed top-load, high-efficiency washers with a large capacity, but a smaller footprint, and they are becoming very popular, he said. Ninety-five percent of all washers and dryers sold, by the way, are white. Premium colors for washers and dryers were a fad that seems to have come and gone, Lindblom believes.
Stainless steel appliances are still the top choice in the kitchen when someone is buying a full appliance package. Those who are replacing appliances piecemeal tend to match whatever they already have, Lindblom said.
The trendy appliance for the kitchen is the induction electric cook top that cooks food beautifully, but stays cool to the touch. At the other end of the spectrum -- cooling -- French door refrigerators with freezers on the bottom are most popular, he said.
As indicated by the name of their store, the Lindbloms sell a select grouping of brands. Maytag was purchased by Whirlpool, so they sell Maytag, Whirlpool, Kitchen Aid and Amana appliances exclusively, which earns them the right to exclusive offers from the appliance giant -- Whirlpool Corp. -- which makes all four lines.
"Kitchen Aid is their premium brand. Maytag and Whirlpool are the middle of the road lines with Maytag being known for dependability and Whirlpool being known as the trendier brand. Amana is the value brand, popular in rentals and with first-time buyers on a budget," Lindblom said.
"Eighty-five percent of the Whirlpool Corporation's appliances are made in the United States. They make more appliances in the United States than all of the other companies combined, and that matters today -- to our customers and to us. Besides that, they offer good quality and fair prices," he said.
"We have 90 models on display in our 1,500-square-foot showroom. We show five kitchen suites with mock cabinets and matching appliances so people can see what a kitchen could look like. Two of the suites display Kitchen Aid appliances and there is one suite each of the other three brands. The rest of the appliances on display are shown 'loose,' by category," Lindblom added.
Specialty items like beverage coolers and bar refrigerators can be ordered, but are not displayed. Customers may also shop through Advanced Maytag's website at www.advancedmaytaghomeappliance.com.
"Our customers are very loyal to us with many still coming to us from the Franklin Park area where our former store was located," he said. "We have many second and third-generation customers. Their parents and grandparents bought their appliances from our dad and now they are buying their appliances from us. They are people who believe in long-term relationships with family businesses and they also believe in doing business the old-fashioned way."
Advanced Maytag also employs its own factory-trained delivery, installation and service teams, as well as sells appliance parts to those who want to repair their own appliances.
"We have three fully-stocked trucks on the road and we prescreen all of our repair calls so that we can have any parts we think might be necessary on the truck when it arrives at the call. Our aim is to get things repaired in one trip," Lindblom said.
"We also have a very stable workforce. Many of our people have worked here for ten or 20 years and their customers get to know them. Over time, they have also become very knowledgeable specialists."
For more information, call Advanced Maytag at (847) 524-3500.