Debbie Schaeffer

Mrs. G TV and Appliances has been in business for 79 years. What began as a plumbing supply company in 1935 has been transformed over the years by Mrs. G (Mrs. Beatrice Greenberg) herself—who ran the place until her passing in 2010—and her family.

Independent retailers face more customers who want their company's knowledge and services, but demand they match Internet pricing, without the sales tax.

Like many independents, Debbie Schaeffer, president and CEO Mrs. G's TV & Appliance, and Dan Schwartz, president of Karl's Appliance, face an increasing number of customers who want their company's knowledge and services, but demand they match Internet pricing - pricing that doesn't include the state's 7 percent sales tax.

Jeff O'Heir talks with Debbie Schaeffer of Mrs. G TV and Appliance in Lawrenceville, N.J., about remodeling, special promotions and best practices.

Lining up accessories refrigerator row-style worked for a lot of years. But 2008 isn’t one of them, said Peter Foerst, a salesman with over a decade of experience. Foerst works the show floor each day at Mrs. G TV and Appliance, a robust independent retailer located on Rt. 1 in New Jersey, close to the affluent Princeton market. He’s adept at charming both deep and shallow-pocketed customers. But the higher the price point of a particular product, he said, the easier it is for his charms to fall flat. “You can talk ‘til you’re blue in the face about a $15,000 refrigerator with

Debbie Schaeffer is a civil engineer by training, a retailer by heritage. As the third generation President of Mrs. G TV and Appliance (her nanogenerian grandmother, the original Mrs. G, still greets customers) in the Princeton, New Jersey, area, Schaeffer manages an enormous (20,000 square feet) showroom of low-to-high-end product. Just recently, she decided to overhaul that showroom. “The store moved into to this facility in 1971,” she says, “Before us, it was a meat-packing operation!...We’ve made improvements here and there over the years, but it was time to upgrade the whole store.” The timing couldn’t have been better. Last year, one of Schaeffer’s

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