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'We’re going to miss it'

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Mike's TV, Appliance & Furniture

A going-out-of-business sale is underway at Mike’s TV, Appliance & Furniture at 119 S. Water St. in downtown Sparta.

Mike's TV, Appliance & Furniture

Mike's TV, Appliance & Furniture owners Mike Haas, center right, and wife Julie, right, who operate their downtown Sparta business with son Henry and daughter-in-law Stephanie, are going out of business after 47 years.

SPARTA, Wis. — Forty-seven years after he started the business in his father’s hardware store, Mike Haas and his wife, Julie, have started a going-out-of-business sale at Mike’s TV, Appliance & Furniture at 119 S. Water St. in downtown Sparta.

The sale started Aug. 13 and will continue “until the inventory is depleted,” said the couple’s son, Henry Haas, who with his wife, Stephanie, helps his parents operate the business. The store is expected to close by the end of the year.

After the retail part of the business closes, it will remain in the appliance repair business. “The whole goal is to take care of our customers with the products that we’ve sold to them,” Henry Haas said of appliance repairs. But because appliance sales are coming to an end, the appliance repair business eventually will slow down, he said.

“We’re going to miss it,” Mike Haas said of closing the retail store part of the business. “But let’s face it, when you’re 72 (as he is), you’ve got to slow down.” He has been working 60 to 70 hours a week, and he and his wife both have had health issues.

Mike’s TV, Appliance & Furniture quit selling TVs about five years ago, Mike Haas said. “People started throwing away TVs when they broke down, rather than having them repaired,” he explained.

Mike Haas started repairing TVs when he was about 12 years old, in his father’s store (Art’s Hardware) in downtown Sparta. In 1974, Mike started his own business, selling TVs and repairing electronics in the basement.

Mike and Julie Haas were married in 1975 and later that year bought a building at 115 E. Oak St. and moved their TV sales and repair business there.

They expanded into the appliance sales and repair business in the late 1970s. They later bought their current building — the Williams Building, which was constructed in 1896 — and moved their business there in 1989. In 1995, they sold the video rental part of their business to make room for furniture sales.

Today, the business has only a small inventory of appliances left to sell, but plenty of furniture.

“It’s become very hard to hire appliance technicians,” Henry Haas said, and his father is spending lots of time repairing appliances himself. “And manufacturers’ supplies (of appliances) are low because of the pandemic.” It’s become hard to get parts for appliances, he added.

“Half of our business was appliances and half was furniture” in recent years, Henry Haas said.

“Nothing is set in stone,” Henry Haas said, when asked what he and Stephanie will do for a living after the store closes.

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