Bayside residents recently took to social media to bemoan the loss of an electronics store on Bell Boulevard, saying it marked the end of an era filled with 45 RPM records and the British Invasion. But the store isn’t closing — it’s just adding a modern repair shop.
“We’ve been here since 1946 and we’re not going anywhere,” said Jay Hildebrand, the owner of S&L Electronics. “We love Bayside. Why would we leave?”
“So sad…I bought all my 45s there. They had the top 40 laid out in order every week in these little cubby holes,” resident Denise Marie Coyle wrote.
Many wrote their recollections of the store’s workers fixing their record players and VHS players. Hildebrand wants to modernize the store’s ability to fix electronics by making the jump from cassette players to iPads.
“I don’t know how to fix any of these new gadgets,” he said. “So we’re renting out part of our space to an electronic repair shop.”
These days, the majority of customers who come into the store with broken electronics have digital gadgets, but Hildebrand has had to turn them away. Soon, though, he won’t have to.
Hildebrand expects the construction of a small shop in the front of the store to take about two weeks to complete.
In the summer, Hildebrand makes most of his money from air conditioner installations, and the store also serves as a thrift shop. Hildebrand’s eclectic business interests are reflected through the store’s messiness. He wants to take the opportunity of the repair shop construction to do some minor renovations and cleaning up.
“A lot of people gather all this stuff and then at the end of the life they look at it all and they don’t know what to do with it,” he said, with three jackets from the Korean War hanging on a pole behind him.
People often come in, Hildebrand said, wanting to sell their parents’ and grandparents’ belongings. And so the store has collected more than just electronic items.
As the new repair shop goes up, the business is still open, even if it looks like the store is closed.
“People ask me why don’t I retire,” Hildebrand said. “But that’s not fun.”