Last week when I attempted to visit the building that used to house, Hi-Fi One Stop, I wrote about the first record store I ever hung out in, in Louisville, Kentucky. After writing that, I thought about how stereo stores are fading away, just like record stores. Buying a stereo system was a big deal in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s, now it’s hard to find a genuine stereo store. There used to be quite a few stereo stores in Peoria and now as far as I know, there’s only one left. And it just happens to be located next to a record store! Hold on to your tweeters, pull up your woofers and let’s go investigate this lone store in P-Town that sells stereophonic systems.
If this entrance looks familiar, then you're a regular reader of MBIP, because we were just here a few weeks ago when we visited Ribbon Records which is located on the ground floor in the old Murray's building here at 100 Walnut Street.
Well, right next door to Ribbon Records is Electronic Diversified, Peoria's last stereo store.
I haven't been in a stereo store in ages and it feels a little like taking a trip back in time walking in here. Let's look at some of the equipment on display in the store.
Wow, a reel to reel tape recorder, it's been years since I've seen one of these.
Here's a rack of turntables on display. I've heard that vinyl records are selling again, well this is the place to come to to get something to play them on!
Here's some massive speakers over in this corner.
Of course every stereo system needs a good receiver and there's plenty of them on display in here.
Holy shitballs, check out that thing on the right, it looks like a cardboard mutation man!
Here's the two guys who run Electronics Diversified, Don Gort and Don Baker. They're really nice guys and if you need to know about stereo systems, these are the guys to talk to. Between the two of them they have over 70 years experience selling and repairing stereo equipment.
They've been operating on Walnut Street for the last four years, but the history of the business goes all the way back to 1948 when Dick Green started, "The Dick X-Ray Company." (Insert your own Dick X-Ray joke, it's too easy for me to...ahem, touch.) Here's a 1965 quote from Dick's X-Ray company to a little company called, "Caterpillar Tractor Company". As time wore on, they incorporated stereo equipment and in the '70's they ditched the Dick's X-Ray's and went full-time into the stereo business and became Electronics Diversified.
Here's a PJ Star article on the store written by Pam Adams from 2003 when vinyl started making a comeback.
This is a feature article on Electronics Diversified and the two Dons in the now defunct Peoria Times Observer. The newspaper is gone, but the store lives on.
Their desk, located at the front of the store, is a legendary mess. They told me that more than one customer has told them that if they clean it, they'll stop shopping here.
They sell a few vinyl records in here, but not enough to be in competition with their neighbor, Ribbon Records.
This antique radio has just been brought back to life by the two Dons and turned in on for me and it sounded great.
This Victorian reel to reel has an interesting history to it. The two Dons bought it on Ebay form someone selling it in Arizona and when it arrived they turned it around...
To find out that it was originally made right here in Peoria!
And the paperwork reveals that Victorian Electronics was located on State Street, just a few blocks away! Talk about something coming full circle!
I'm guessing that this TV is from the '50's.
This looks like a coffee table, but it's actually an elaborate speaker system from the '60's that was owned by the original owner, Dick Green.
Don showed me the paperwork on the system revealing it to be a JBL-Ranger/METREGON. Just as I had suspected!
i had looked at more stereo equipment than I had seen in decades, but then Don told me to follow him through these doors to see even more! Part of me was scared that this was an elaborate trap to turn me into a human woofer for their own sick personal amusement, but I followed anyway.
Here's the two Don's in the back room with a radio they are particularly proud of...
They told me this is a super-rare EH Scott radio, which was one of the first radios to feature an FM band. It sold for $750 dollars back in 1939, so I think it's a little out of my price range, but it was cool to see this blast from the radio past.
These speakers were recovered from Hurricane Wilma. WILMA!
There's tables of turntables waiting to be brought back to life by the duo of Dons back here. They told me they do just as much repair work here as retail selling in the store.
As I was leaving I noticed this vintage sign from back when ED stood for Electronics Diversified and not something you take a pill for! Thanks to the two Don's for a great tour and a fun afternoon and we'll see you all tomorrow!
100 Walnut Street
Suite # 100 (Ground level, next to Ribbon Records)