Gordon’s Electric Since 1955 - 54 years

Gordon’s Electric Since 1955 - 54 years – By Linda Ruminer Tulare Historical Museum

Wallace and Nellie Gordon first started Gordon’s Electric in March 1955.  The first location was on Inyo Street near the railroad tracks and next to Hummel’s Bike Shop.

In 1957 they moved their business downtown to 136 S. K Street.  The business was across the street from Toledo’s Jewelry and Central Pharmacy.  In the beginning Nellie ran the store and Wallace did the service and house calls.  In 1975 the family moved their business to their present location at 348 East King Avenue.  The site was the former location of The First Baptist Church.  The business stands on what used to be the former youth department of the church. 

Wallace and Nellie Gordon have three sons; Dennis, Rick and Rod. In February 1992, Rod bought out his dad and became President of the Corporation. 

In April 1992, Rod had been president of the company for only a couple months.  He lived in a house next door to the business.  An arson fire started in Rod’s garage.  The fire soon consumed Rod’s house and the business.  Everything was destroyed.  All was lost.  Rod said the first person to call was Wilma Canby offering all kinds of supplies to help them get back to business, as well as offering to answer telephones and assisting any way possible.  After the fire they worked at the King Street location out of a trailer for an office, with a big tent for a showroom.  They operated their business for about two months like that, before moving the business to their warehouse on North I Street, while a new building was being erected on King Street.

Then in April 1993 while doing business at the warehouse on I Street there was a second fire.  Gas cans were used to set the fire. This fire was smaller, but still did considerable damage to the big sliding doors, as well as several major appliances.   

In August 1993 there was a third major fire.  It was again on I Street, just prior to opening the nearly finished business on King Street.  They had extra computers and extra inventory at I Street, all ready to go into the new location.  This fire destroyed everything at the I Street warehouse.  Again all was lost.  Gordon’s Electric Appliance store suffered approximately $1 million in fire damage. 

Along with $750,000 in merchandise, lost were years of family and business souvenirs whose monetary cost didn’t compare to their sentimental value.  All their momentos were gone. 

Armed with nothing more than a loaner cell phone Rodney Gordon started working out of his pickup truck outside his uncompleted King Avenue store, ordering new inventory and answering service calls.  With the help of their distributors, Gordon’s was able to piece together a modest display. Fiddler Construction finished up the King Street building as quickly as possible. Frigidaire brought all new merchandise within 24 hours.  Bob Myers brought used desks, chairs, file cabinets, notepads and pencils.  Out of the ashes came the community again showing their love and support bringing food and offering all kinds of services.  Rod Gordon said Tulare has always been very good to them. The community has always been a great support, whenever it was needed

From the ruins of the I Street warehouse came a modern all-metal building to store inventory once again. 

Today Gordon’s Electric is a thriving business.  They sell numerous name brands of major kitchen appliances such as Maytag, Frigidaire, Jenn-Air, Whirlpool, Electrolux, Dacor and Bosch to name a few. They sell appliances like refrigerators, stoves and washers and dryers.  The store offers more options for builders and homeowners alike. 

They are affiliated with “Brand Source.”  Brand Source is a logo name associated with volume buyers.  They are a buying group that gives them clout with over 2800 other stores.  Brand Source stands behind Gordon’s Electric and backs them with Nationwide Advertising.   

Wallace and Nellie Gordon are proud of the business and their son Rod and how they have overcome such adversity. They say they are a stronger business today, because of it.  Wallace still works at the business most days, working in the back on whatever he can.  Nellie speaks very highly of him.  Rod is very proud of his parents and the legacy they have left for him. 

By Linda Ruminer

Tulare Historical Museum