18 March 2009

1964-2009: That Was Tom Peterson's (And Gloria's, Too!)

1985.I'm wondering, did I miss the announcement or the party?

It would seem that Tom Peterson & Gloria's Too is no more:

Now Tom Dechenne of Norris, Beggs and Simpson's name is up on the wall next to Portland's two favorite and most famous appliance and furniture mongers.

The thing was, I don't remember the announcement of the sale or the retirement. Last year, The Big O's inPortland supplement did a respectful and sweet profile of the two. Not long before that, Tom and Gloria moved the old store from the signature southwest corner of SE 82nd Avenue and Foster Rd to a smaller, pokier building at 8225 SE Insley–sandwiched between a Union 76 gas station and the Oriental Food Value market, a building which used to hold a branch of the Tom Peterson's appliance empire (and which still has the old signs in the ceiling announcing CAR STEREO, CAMCORDER, VIDEO LIBRARY, VIDEO, and AUDIO. Go to OFV and see it sometime).

The real estate signs perched on the roof were the first giveaway. The window art (which has the touch of Extremo the Clown about it–looks like his style in the type) was the second. And if you go up and look in, there's nothing but nothing in there.

We had come by here via SE 92nd and Ellis, still exulting in finding another example of the new street blades (just look back one posting). We were, as it happens, on our way over to Oriental Food Value, and there was Tom and Gloria's place.

Thanks for 45 years.

This was the sort of thing that should have gotten a write-up in The Oregonian or something on the news. But when it was time for Tom and Gloria to retire, it came quietly, with nary an announcment or an advertisement.

I asked one of the OFV clerks about it, and she said it closed at last about a month ago. And we shared memories of "Wake Up, Wake Up!!!" and other things.

It's been fun having Tom Peterson's around. I'll miss it. I've heard of a lot of local business legends, but none have ever accrued the good will Tom Peterson did. I've written about Tom Peterson before and nobody ever had a bad word to say about him. I remember Xonix and Muntz TVs, appearances in the crows nest with Frank Bonnema on Portland Wrestling, the Wake Up sale commercials, free hot dogs, free TP haircuts, Stereo Stupid Stores, "I'm listening to my wife!". I'll remember it all.

We've had some interesting TV characters since, but Carpet Carl, Marmoleum Mike, Leif Hansen, even The Outrageous Audio Guy (ALL MoNtH LONG!) can but stand in the shadow of Tom and Gloria's awesomeness.

I'd always said to The Wife™ that we ought to go in and buy something small from Tom, just maybe a table or a coffeemaker or something, just to say we've been. We'll never have that chance now.

Abysinnia, Tom. You too, Gloria.

PS:Seriously's, I've doen teh Google on this. I can't find a thing about the last days of Tom Peterson and Gloria's Too. Not a word. Would have liked to say goodbye ...

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John D said...

I have one of the "Wake up" alarm clocks that I picked up at an estate sale for nothing. Original batteries included, still in the styrofoam packaging. I fired it up once just for the novelty, then packed it back up to display, box and all, on my special shelf.

Samuel John Klein said...

You are an incredibly lucky fellow, and I envy you muchly.

I wish I'd of gotten a TP alarm clock and watch when I'd of had the chance.

cornel said...

Marmoleum MIke here, Iactually worked for Tom Peterson in 1996.