By Jennie Acklin
In the competitive world of big box stores, Besecker & Coss of Olean stands alone with old-fashioned values and name brand products.
For over 60 years, their commitment to getting to know their customers, knowledge about the products they carry, and servicing what they sell has carried them through three generations.
John Gerringer, along with his brother Mike and sister Charmain Bean, run this family-owned enterprise.
Their grandfather, Francis Besecker, started the business in 1953 with Emmit Coss, when they purchased the service division from Mattson’s Department Store in Olean. They started moving slowly into the residential appliance business, but always believed strongly in servicing what he sold.
The sign that hangs inside the showroom and on the outside of the building says it all — “We Build Our Business on Service.”
When asked about the sign, John just smiled and said, “My grandfather used that message when he owned the business and we still believe in it today.”
John started working for his father, John Gerringer Sr., in 1985 making deliveries and learning the service side of the business. When his father retired in 1998, John took over as general manager. Brother Mike is the Sales Department manager, and sister Charmain is the Parts and Service manager.
Besecker & Coss has always been located at 1553 Olean-Portville Road in Olean, N.Y., and over the 60-plus years have remodeled the building four times. They have added many new product lines, including electronics, and most recently the Serta line of mattresses.
John believes it is important to keep offering products that customers want for their homes.
“People will come in to buy one item, frequently a replacement item for an old appliance. They like the shopping experience so much, that they come back for additional items or services, and we want to make sure we have everything people want,” John said. “Our service department isn’t an 800 number with a recording. You actually talk to us directly — and when you schedule a delivery or a service call, we show up!”
The store even sells factory parts for do-it-yourselfers.
Boasting the largest showroom in the Southern Tier, Besecker & Coss is full of name brand appliances such as KitchenAid, Sub-Zero, Wolf, Viking, Frigidaire, Maytag, Whirlpool, Panasonic, Amana, Samsung and Serta. Electronics include televisions, Blu-Ray and DVD players, TV and video accessories from Denon, Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp. Their factory-authorized technicians will make service calls and deliveries within 60 miles, six days a week.
The one question John was anxious to answer was: “How does your family-owned business compete with the big box stores?”
Without hesitation he answered, “People assume that the big stores offer the cheapest prices — we go toe to toe with all of them. We often have better prices on the name brands. And again, our 60-mile service range gives customers a lot of confidence to purchase from us.”
With sales improving every year, they obviously have a good strategy. They work with local decorating businesses by measuring your space to ensure your new appliances will fit into your custom-designed space perfectly. They will also work with realtors looking for new appliances for a house they are selling or to help new buyers find the best appliances.
Besecker & Coss is open seven days a week and only closes occasionally for holidays. Their service and delivery department operates six days a week.
Call (716) 372-0565 to talk to a friendly salesperson or serviceperson. They are open Monday–Friday 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m.–5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
Stop in to visit the family. You’ll find their old-fashioned customer service refreshing in our “hurry up, multi-tasking world.”