Heralds Electronic Appliances hands over the keys to new ownership. Credit: Heralds Electronic Appliances

MOUNT VERNON — TJ and Jessica Franz wanted to own a local business with a legacy — a business that could be passed down through generations–a family initiative.

Through a mutual friend, the Franzs got in touch with Phil Herald, the owner of Herald’s Appliances and Electronics for several years.

Herald came to the conclusion it was time to retire–but he needed to know he was handing the keys to the right person.

“I came to work here in November to see if this was a good fit for us and to learn the business until we took over,” TJ said.

“I think he trusts our ability, we work side by side every day and he sees how we run a business.”

“For me, both of my parents owned small businesses,” he said. TJ’s mother partly owns Knox County Vision Center and his dad owned his own construction company.

“Herald’s, to me, is a staple of our community,” TJ said. “It’s one of the larger small businesses in Mount Vernon and people have been coming here for generations.”

Herald saw it as the right opportunity, with Jessica having experience in social media. “I felt like it would bring a breath of fresh air into the business,” he said.

The Franz made it clear to their customers they aren’t changing anything. “We’re not gonna reinvent the wheel,” they said.

“All of our employees will be the same until they’re ready to leave.”

Growing Herald’s

“If I can see steady growth, maybe down the line, the real benchmark for success for me is possibly another location closer to Columbus. We can spread our wings a little further towards that Columbus market,” he said.

The Franzs pointed to the desire for people wanting to buy from small businesses, but under the misnomer, there’s an increased price tag.

“We price match Lowe’s and Home Depot,” TJ said. “If Lowe’s changes their website, it will automatically change my price tags. So that’s what’s key is you don’t have to pay any more to shop local.

“If you buy something from us and you have a problem with it, you call me here at the store and we send one of our technicians out and fix your problem. Right. That’s what’s key,” TJ said. “We do everything in-house. We don’t hire everything out. When you buy something, we install it.”

TJ takes lessons learned from the construction industry by helping customers design their kitchens–a trade he learned while flipping houses.

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I am a Report For America corps member at Knox Pages. I report on public education in the county as well as workforce development. I first landed at Knox Pages in June 2022.