Ted Kalb, of Kalb Electric, Continues Fixing Lamps in the Face of Hardships
Kalb hopes to sell his building. He's turning his business mobile in November.
Ted Kalb, the third generation to own and run Kalb Electric, in Maplewood, is closing shop.
What led up to this, since the business opened in 1909, was covered by St. Louis Dispatch columnist, Bill McClellan, on Sept. 14.
McClellan wrote about Kalb working in the shop as a boy, then taking over the business from his father.
"Ted settled into the business. He married a girl who lived two doors from the store.
By then, he was running the place. It was going great guns. This was in the days before big box stores. At its height, Kalb Electric Company had three employees in addition to Ted. The business was evenly split between retail and repairs."
In a visit to Kalb Electric since the column was published, Kalb said the building has been for sale for three years with very little interest. McClellan’s column helped. He’s had five inquiries since then.
He’s hoping the new CVS pharmacy, across the street, and the yet to be approved QuikTrip, on the northwest corner of Manchester and Big Bend, might help him sell his property.
If it doesn't sell, his plan is to lease out the retail space, the two apartments above it, and the warehouse, and turn his business into an electrical repair business on wheels. He produced 10,000 flyers to promote the service.
He had a home that he said was improperly foreclosed upon, but can’t afford the legal fees to rectify it. His credit rating took a dive as a result. He said he’s also unemployed and has no health insurance. Besides all that, his wife committed suicide last month.
"In a real sense, Kalb Electric is a success story. Few businesses last 100 years.
When I left, the Lamp Man turned back to the chandelier."
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