By Molly • Molly Walker • 

Dave puts Dave's TV up for sale

The building is located at 1227 N.E. Baker St., just before Baker merges back into Adams to create Highway 99W. He has it listed with Gene Zinda of Windermere Pacific Crest Realty at $425,000.

Encompassing 2,000 square feet, it features large picture windows, good highway frontage and on-site parking.

The building was constructed in the mid-1950s for Jumbo Cafe, which moved from a site nearby and operated in the new location until 1967. The restaurant was owned and operated by Orville and Ruby Mae Neuschwander.

Wallace said it housed Harry’s Color Center, then a carpet business, before he bought the building.

Wallace completed a stint in the Army in 1969. Back home, he went to the employment office to sign up for unemployment benefits.

Instead, he ended up enrolling in an electronics technician apprenticeship program through Chemeketa Community College. He spent two years apprenticing with Kiwi Electronics, then spent some time with Trimet Electronics in Amity, before earning his certification.

When Trimet went out of business in 1973, Wallace bought the inventory and went into business for himself in McMinnville. Those were the days of vacuum tube technology, so he’s witnessed a lot of change.

“It was a different era,” Wallace said. He said most television sets were sold through independent stores like his, and they required far more maintenance and repair work than today.

He continued to sell sets until about a year ago. “I sold a lot of TVs in that period,” he said.

He’s seen a long series of sharp shifts in technology, the most recent taking the industry from analogue to digital and standard definition to high definition. And the advent of digital has dramatically changed the way signals are received.

Analogue signals are no longer being broadcast in the United States, Wallace said, and the new digital signals can be blocked by trees and buildings.

“That’s why you don’t see many antennas any more,” he said. “There are some spots that are good, but the only way to tell is to put up an antenna and see what you get.”

Wallace recalls the days of the tube television, when it wasn’t uncommon for him to go to a customer’s home twice a year to check and replace tubes. He would net about $20 on a service call and $5 on a tube.

Today, sets have far fewer failures, and those failures tend to be expensive to address. Depending on the size and age of the set, repairs can easily cost more than it’s worth. So people just go out and buy a new one.

“People like me are dinosaurs,” Wallace said. “The work level is just not there to keep small shops going.”

He noted, nostalgically, “When I started, there were probably seven or eight shops in this town.”

But Wallace has adapted.

He now travels more, as he handles claims under nationally marketed extended warranties. He keeps up with the changing technology through online training and seminars.

Within three to five years, Wallace is expecting so-called smart TVs, analogous to smart phones, will take over the market. They will allow the user to stream movies, television shows and other Internet fare, he said.

He’s also expecting advances allowing people to operate sets through voice commands or apps turning an iPhone into a remote.

Wallace put in six days a week most of his career, but cut down to five a few years ago. And he’s looking to continue decreasing as the years pass and the technology evolves.

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