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COLUMBIANA -- A little over 20 years ago Ginny and Dick Younger had a plan.



Published: Sun, January 27, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



COLUMBIANA -- A little over 20 years ago Ginny and Dick Younger had a plan.

"We planned on having our house paid off just as our oldest child was starting college, and we would be able to help her as well as our other two children," Mrs. Younger said.

But the plan was not meant to be. The steel mills closed, and Younger's job in accounting came to an end. "My department was one of the last to leave. It was a very sad time," Younger said.

In the meantime, Mrs. Younger was working part time for "pin money."

"That changed. I had to get my mind set to a have-to-work frame of mind," she said.

Ideas: Younger had always wanted to own his own business, so he stared looking into possibilities.

"Initially, he wanted to open a floral shop, but I vetoed the idea because there would be too much holiday work," Mrs. Younger said.

Younger had a friend who did some research and discovered that a Radio Shack franchise might fit Younger's needs.

Radio Shack has company stores and franchised locations.

The company wanted its franchisees to start small by selling Radio Shack products inside other stores. The Youngers set up their business in small area within a drugstore in Columbiana and named it Fidelity Sound and Electronics.

"He was so patient," Mrs. Younger said. "He'd sit there and wait for customers, and sometimes it would be noon before anyone came in."

Eventually business picked up and it was time to find a larger space. Mrs. Younger found a store that was small, but three times larger than the space in the drugstore. After two years, they moved.

"After you are established within another retail operation, you can move your Radio Shack to its own store, Younger said.

The new store was in the same plaza as the pharmacy.

Help: "With the help of some friends from our church, we used grocery carts to move our inventory," Mrs. Younger said.

"If a customer came into the store and we didn't have what they wanted, Dick would go to another Radio Shack store and pick up the items for them. That's how we built our customer base, and the people of Columbiana are very loyal to their stores," she said.

When the Oakmont Plaza was being built, the developers were looking for stores with familiar names. The Youngers' store was a good match.

"Radio Shacks are usually in strip plazas because people like to run in and grab a battery or some other item. They want convenient parking," Younger said.

In 1988 he moved his store to the new plaza.

"Also, I have always had an in-store technician to install things like car radios and direct TV hookups. Most Radio Shacks don't have that. Hyde Keylor, my technician, has been with me since almost the beginning," Younger said.




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