Thirty-years ago this past Tuesday, Oct. 1, a new shop opened up on Detroit Street in LaGrange – the Independent Phone Shop.
“We started with a little showroom at the 210 South Detroit location,” Phil “Yogi” Miller recalled of the start of his three-decade long business. “A year later, I bought the Radio Shack franchise.” Miller had several years of experience with phones prior to starting his own shop.
Three years ago, Miller moved across the street and north a block to the current location, which offers more space. Miller’s son Pete has also worked with the business as a phone technician. The store also has a full-time manager.
As with any business that has been running for so long, there has been a lot of changes. “Back then, commercial phones were the main thing,” Miller said. But with cellphones taking over so much of the communication workload, “the commercial phones have bumped down a notch,” Miller noted.
Miller has added additional areas to the store, including cellphones through Verizon Wireless and Ligtel internet service to compliment the commercial phone and Radio Shack business. The shop also carries various satellite dishes and antennas.
Miller noted that the commercial phone area continues to do well, but changes in the way people shop has created some challenges for the business. Another challenge has been the pace at which technology constantly changes.
Miller is actually interested in finding someone who would want to take over the retail portion of the business, in large part due to the ever-changing technology. “A business like this would give a young person, a techy person, a good opportunity,” Miller said.
As for his 30 years of serving LaGrange County and surrounding areas – “It went by quick,” Miller stated.