Contacts: Miguel Alfonso, Owner of Cuba TV in Union City, NJ
Don’t roll the closing credits for “the neighborhood electronics store” yet. Plenty of small-in-size but rich-in-history retail operations are still going strong in 2006. Case in point: Cuba TV, run by Miguel Alfonso and the Alfonso family on Summit Avenue in Union City, N.J. Though they are surrounded by fierce competitors like P.C. Richards and Circuit City, the Anfonso’s have held fast as a community institution for nearly 35 years.
“We are almost like a barber shop,” says Alfonso. “One guy comes in for a battery and stands there and starts talking and then some other customers come in and join the conversation. They’ll stay a while, that’s the kind of business this is.”
Cuba TV draws its customer base from a diverse neighborhood. Pakistani, Chinese, Korean, and Mexican immigrants have all settled in Union City, finding reasonable rents close to New York City. The Alfonso’s have an affinity for these newcomers. “My dad came over from Cuba,” says Alfonso. “He started doing small TV repairs in the basement of the building where we lived. He saved up and opened a store in 1972...we moved to our current location in ‘76. We all live in the building, in four apartments upstairs. So it’s a great commute!”