A family business that opened its doors in St. James City in 1962 still has a presence on the island 50 years later helping residents with all of their appliance needs.
"Thank you for all of the support and for being our friends," said Susan Meier of Peter Meier Appliances, for keeping the business open for 50 years.
Her husband, Peter Meier, also an owner of Peter Meier Appliances, moved to Pine Island in 1962 with his parents Peter and Leah Meier. He attended Pine Island Elementary School as a 6th grader when he first arrived.
Peter and Susan Meier, owners of Peter Meier Appliances, are celebrating 50 years of serving residents on Pine Island.
His father opened Peter Meier Appliances the year they moved to the island in St. James City providing services to fix televisions.
Peter said he remembers working with his dad on service calls when he was 10 years old.
A year later his father decided to move the business to Matlacha, which occupied the space where Perfect Cup currently is located, to generate more traffic for about five years. With the move, they decided to add appliance repairs to the services offered.
If You Go:
What: Peter Meier Appliances
Owners: Peter and Susan Meier
Years of service: 50
Where: 5505 Pine Island Road
Peter said he remembers the strip mall having an island supermarket, variety store, barber shop and a post office in addition to their shop in the early 1960s.
In 1968, the business moved again after they purchased two acres at the Pine Island Center and built a 12,000-square-foot building where they remained for 35 years.
Susan said she remembers Leah and Pete saying it took every penny they had to build the new store.
As the business expanded, the services increased as well to include selling appliances, air conditioners, televisions, radios, furniture and antennas, as well as offering the option to finance items, in addition to repairs. The business employed up to 10 individuals at the time.
The Meiers said they were the only business on the island to offer various types of repairs.
In 1985, Peter and Susan took over the business.
In 2004, they decided to sell the building due to an offer they received at the right time during the recession hitting and things changing. The Beacon of H.O.P.E. now resides in the space.
Peter Meier Appliances moved again and is now located behind Subway at the center. They have occupied the location for the last year and a half.
"We don't need a big store anymore, we just need a telephone and tools," he said, adding that the visibility of the store has worked out great.
Peter said they mainly do all home appliance repairs now on Pine Island, Cape Coral and North Fort Myers. He said he is on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"There has been an increase in repairs because of the economy," he said. "No one wants to buy new."
Lately he has been working on washers, dryers and refrigerators.
"If someone built it, someone can take it a part," Peter said. "I can fix it all."
The business has stayed strong over the last 50 years because of reasonable prices and honest service, they said.
Peter said he is not trying to repair something just to make a buck. He said if he can do something to make the appliance work, he will to save the customer money.
"I give a lot of free advice," he said.
The Meiers said they try to help anyone with anything while keeping the prices down.
"Keeping the prices down in this economy is a must," they said.