For decades, Decatur County folks have been calling upon Cook’s Appliance Service for help with repairing their household appliances. Now, a familiar hometown face will continue that legacy.
Bobby Cook, who started the business in the 1970s, has sold it to David White, formerly of Stone’s Hardware Center in Bainbridge. Cook will remain an employee and help White continue learning the appliance repair trade.
“I will turn 70 years old this year, and I’ve been feeling like I wanted to maybe sell the business and help train a younger guy, so that the business could continue,” Cook said. “I want the business to keep going to serve our customers. The people of Decatur County have been very good to me and I’ve made many good friends.”
For White, who comes from a sales and management background, acquiring Cook’s Appliance Service is a welcome new challenge. His father, Ed White, an Air Force veteran, ran White’s TV Repair in Cairo for 35 years, sparking a childhood interest in tinkering. After getting an associate’s degree in business from Bainbridge College, David White trained to become an outboard motor technician for Outboard Marine Corp., makers of Evinrude and Johnson motors, before later joining Stone’s.
“I’ve always been interested in how things work and I enjoy describing to people how to do various home improvement projects,” White said. “I met Bobby and started asking him questions, and he suggested I ride along with him one day as he made repair calls. I’m very grateful for the opportunity Stone’s has given me. I’ve always wanted to own my own business, so I’m excited.”
Cook and White got to talking and the younger man decided he would like to take on the appliance repair business. Cook’s Appliance Service works on refrigerators, washers and dryers, heating and air systems, microwaves, ranges and dishwashers. They also sell Rheem central air conditioning units.
Cook recalls being 18 years old, when he received encouragement from a family friend who owned a hardware store. Cook began working on appliances in Homerville, Ga., and worked for several years as a hospital engineer, in charge of maintaining air conditioners, hospital beds, defibrillators and laundry machines.
In 1972, Cook moved to Bainbridge to get married. The first Cook’s Appliance Service opened in Donalsonville in 1972, and about two years later, Cook moved his business to downtown Bainbridge. He worked out of 318 E. Water Street for several years, before the business was moved to a larger building at 401 E. Water Street.
Cook credits Alfred Rogers and Joe Daniels, both of whom managed local furniture stores, with making Cook’s Appliance a successful business.
“When I first started, I did a lot of work on manufacturers’ factory warranties,” Cook said. “Alfred and Joe would sell appliances at their store and refer their customers to me when they needed repair work.”
Cook knows appliances inside-out. He holds a mechanics diploma from Southwest Georgia Technical College in Americus and an electronics repair diploma from Waycross-Ware Technical-Vocational School. Asked how he has been able to keep up with continuous improvements to appliance technology, Cook said he attends training sponsored by manufacturers several times per year.
Over the course of almost 40 years, Cook has made a number of loyal customers and friends, and White is eager to keep earning their business. White is building upon his own knowledge and skillset with Cook’s veteran experience.
“There’s not many things we can’t fix,” White said. “We service appliances for approximately two dozen brands, so if you call us, we will tell you if we can work on it or refer you to someone who can.”
Other Cook’s Appliance Service employees, in addition to Cook, are technician Rich Houston and office staffers Denise McMillan and Audrey Lynn.
Cook’s Appliance is located at 401 E. Water Street in downtown Bainbridge. You can call them at (229) 246-7727.