They don’t make men like this anymore. Wade Soloman is a tinkerer by trade and he’ll fix anything he can get his hands on or turn anything you’ve got into a lamp. It’s been some time since he moved his repair shop to Main Street, home of ice cream, lollipops, and this place to bring your dead vacuum cleaners. And they don’t make those like they used to either.
So buy local and go say hello to...
Wade Soloman, owner of
1. Does the economy mean business is better for you, people repairing instead of replacing?
WS: Good vacuums are very expensive. A lot of people buy the inexpensive machine and six months later they come in here upset that something is wrong with the machine. I explain to them that the parts aren’t made by the same company; that it’s more expensive to replace the motor than buy a new one. They aren’t making stuff to last any more.
2. You remind me of my dad. We used to have a stack of five VCRs on our TV, since all the neighbors asked him to fix theirs. What’s your house like?
WS: Like that! They come nonstop. I come home and stuff is sitting in the hallway. Tube radios I can’t get the tubes for; all this stuff. It’s harder to get parts now to fix these old things. But I have problems sleeping nights; I get these ideas! I just have a creative mind man.
3. Ideas for what? Have you invented things?
WS: I have so many things on paper that I’ve never pursued because you gotta make a living. I’ve still got them down though. Who knows. Maybe I’ll patent something. At the store it’s all about lamps now. Someone comes in with a jar, vase, bottle, anything, I’ll turn into a lamp. [He points out this mini-keg-lamp he’s finished.]
4. I see you out often maintaining the sidewalk too?
WS: I was in maintenance for 30 years before I went to repair. I still get small jobs; I’m used to working; that’s my world. The owner here planted flowers in front and I water them. The dogs going by give me a complex! I love the flowers; they all grow so nice for me. It’s just like raising your family. If you love them you’re going to take care of them, nurture them, feed them.
5. I remember you saying you close every midday to go home and have lunch?
WS: There’s no snow day for me; I live so close; I walk. My wife and I have lunch together every day. We’ve been married a long time; the kids are all grown up. Three daughters and one son. No one’s doing what I’m doing; I did this without an education to raise a family; they have different opportunities. My wife will come in with a little smile, and ask, "What are you doing now?" I’m putting something together.