Personal service helping local business thrive

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Honest, personal service have helped Donkers Hometown Appliance establish itself as a well-respected business in Austin only a year and a half after it opened.

The store offers washers, dryers, refrigerators, freezers, dishwashers, lawn care products and grills from companies such as Amana, Whirlpool, Maytag, Gibson, Fischer-Paykel and Frigidaire and all are recommended by owner Ralph Donkers himself.

"I'm always looking for values because I've experienced dissatisfaction with certain models and product lines. Every product you see here on the floor is something I would be very happy to put in my own house," he explains.

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Donkers also looks for appliances that "cover everyone with any type of pocketbook, from people with beginning pocketbooks to people who are building half-million dollar homes, quarter-million dollar homes and are looking for something more upscale."

The key to any sale at his store is "service, service, service. After a person has experienced a chain store, we offer what they don't get there," he says. "We work by three mottoes: we do service for the store and service for you; let people help you; and the golden rule."

His customers have been pleased with their experiences in purchasing appliances. Mike and Vicky Arndt purchased a high efficiency Fischer-Paykel washer before Christmas and Vicky says they were "very, very pleased … he's a very honest man. He gives you the same service he would want and expect for himself."

Her mother also recently purchased a dryer and had the same positive experience. "He took time with her and was patient and pointed out the pros and cons of each dryer," Vicky says. "She doesn't have a lot of money, so this was a major purchase for her and he made sure she got the best buy for her money. She knew that if she had any problems at all, the quality of service would be there."

Vicky says she and her husband were impressed Donkers "had something in the upper price range, the middle price range and the lower price range."

Still, she says "I can't overly emphasize how honest and dependable he is. I wouldn't hesitate to buy any appliance from him. When we were shopping for a washer, we asked him if he was going to buy a washer for his own family, which one would he buy? He told us it would be the Fischer-Paykel and I love it. If the house burns down, I'm saving the dog and the washer."