When the Lincoln City Sears store closed back in April, many loyal customers were left wondering if they would have to make the trek inland for their appliance needs. But thanks to long time owners Monika and Fritz Hucke, the store will continue to offer to same great service with the same staff, but with a new name: Coastal Appliance & Mattress Experts.
The store at 1517 SW Highway 101 held a grand opening on July 5, as Monika cut the ribbon and celebrated with some tasty hot dogs and a raffle for all in attendance. The Huckes had much to celebrate since not long ago, the future of their stores both in Lincoln City and Newport were left in uncertainty after Sears filed for bankruptcy.
“We had some wonderful, great years and were very successful with those stores, but the bankruptcy of Sears affected the way we could do business and we had to make a decision,” Monika Hucke said. “Our contract went to 2021 and we planned on finishing out that contract and then retiring, but we both believed that they wouldn’t make it that long.”
The Huckes then began liquidating their stores and where left with a decision to make. With their retirement still a few years away, the couple decided to leave something for the community that has already given them many great years of their lives.
“We wanted to have something that we could give to someone,” Monika said. “So we started over.”
Finding a home
In 1993, the Hucke family immigrated from Germany with hopes of moving to California to live near family. But along the way, they landed in Lincoln City and discovered a love for the coastal town.
“We loved it here and decided, you know what California is not for us,” Monika said. “So we stayed here and have been here ever since.”
Although some might not like all the traffic that passes through town on a daily basis, Monika said that is exactly what has kept them around all these years, as well as the small town charm.
“There is so much moving in and out and you get to know new things almost daily… There’s always something interesting and new,” Monika said. “But still at the core of the city, it’s a small town and everybody knows everyone. That’s what I love most about Lincoln City.”
After 22 years with the Sears franchise, Monika and Fritz found themselves starting from scratch with their new store. The first challenge was building up their inventory.
“The biggest challenge was that it was a tremendous investment in merchandise,” Monika said. “Investing that much money again at this stage in my life was a hard decision.”
Along with the financial challenge, the Huckes also had to learn how to do their own marketing and making all those tough decisions that had been made for them for the past 22 years. But that’s also been the best part of their new branding.
“We are learning as we go and the older you get the more difficult that becomes, but to have the freedom to make every decision yourself is great and we sure hope that it is a success. We’ve started from nothing before, so we know we could do it again.”
With that freedom the Huckes are taking full advantage by creating their own promotions. Monika said that all their appliances are currently on sale.
“I have also decided moving forward to always offer multiple discounts, always offer a zero percent financing option and to always offer a free drop off delivery here in town, which I never could do before.
“It’s nice to make those decisions. I have more freedom to make my own decisions and satisfy our customers.”
With more freedom and a new name, the Huckes are looking forward to offering the community the same service they have been for the past two decades.
“It’s been a lot of work and it was actually very emotional to close,” Monika said. “But then it got very exciting and we are just hoping to continue to be successful.”