Back in 1951, two skinny telegraph operators, employed by the Seaboard Railroad in Quincy, borrowed
their limit from the Seaboard credit union (about $300.00 each) and opened a radio and appliance store
in a rented house on West Jefferson Street. James Stewart, Bob Young, and their wives, Kathleen and
Gertrude, distributed 9x6 inch handbills around town announcing the Grand Opening of Stewart-Young
Radio and Appliances and their promise to provide quality products backed by quality service.
In the beginning, money was so tight that the store’s first sale, a wringer washing machine, was delivered with a truck borrowed from a local gas station owner.
James and Bob were among the first Quincy retailers to add television, a relatively new invention, to their product lineup. Neighbors gathered on the store’s lawn in the evenings to watch westerns and variety shows through the storefront window.
Over the years, the store moved twice, the partners went their separate ways, and the store was renamed Stewart TV & Appliances in 1963. James and Kathleen Stewart ran the store with the help of a great staff of sales and clerical help and the best service department around. The four Stewart children helped too, dusting shelves and stuffing envelopes and such.
Skinny, young John Stewart, spent much of his youth hanging out in the service department, tinkering with tv and radio parts. Eventually, he became a full time tv repairman, having learned a smidge or two at the knee of the service department manager, Pat Edwards, and the television expert, Roosevelt Daniels, aka Bubba the hammer. When the other Stewart children finished school and went off in various directions, John stayed at the store and became the sole owner in 1994 (though he still takes instruction from Miss Kathleen, who works three morning each week.)
In January, 2019, we welcomed another skinny guy, long time store manager, Rufus Keigans, to become a partner in the business. We are proud to know that our customers will continue to have the quality shopping and service experience they’ve come to expect.
For those of you who are already dedicated Rufus fans, please note, Rufus still doesn’t work on Tuesdays.