Meet Your Merchant: Hale Appliance Services, a wife-husband service team
Hale Appliance Services
“Hale yeah, we can fix it”
Kara and Aaron Hale
As a little girl, Kara Hale wasn’t the one playing with Barbies. Instead, she loved to take things apart, see how they worked and put them back together again. When she was 16, she bought an old car and her brother-in-law, a mechanic, promised he’d show her how to fix it. But there was one stipulation: she’d have to do all the work. When the engine finally fired up, Kara felt a rush of satisfaction — she’d learned how to fix it herself.
Years later, as an adult living in Grass Valley, a Sears appliance repair man came out to fix Kara’s refrigerator, and as she watched him assess the problem, she got to thinking.
“Does Sears hire women?” she asked.
The answer was “yes,” but there was only one female working in the Northern California and Reno area, he said. That was all Kara needed to know.
The next day, she drove down to the Sears office in Citrus Heights, applied for a job and took the required mechanical and electrical test. By the time she got home, there was a message offering her a job.
Although her first few weeks on the job were more than 12 years ago, Kara remembers them vividly.
“I only had nine days of training in the field, then I was sent out on my own,” she said. “Occasionally I’d come across an old machine I’d never seen before and I’d be out in an area where there was no cell phone service. I’d be staring at the machine and the customer would be staring at me.”
But with each week on the job, her expertise grew, and somewhere around the one-year mark, Kara actually started having fun. Her now-husband, Aaron Hale, transferred into the Sears service department, where Kara was working. Just like his wife, Aaron grew up loving to fix things, such as cars, mowers and chainsaws. Both of them spent many years on the road, traveling throughout their far-reaching service area, which extended as far as Downieville and Soda Springs to Lincoln and Camptonville.
The two worked together for Sears for nearly a decade, before Kara left her job to spend a year caring for an elderly family friend. When she was ready to come back to work, she decided to take the plunge and start her own business, Hale Appliance Services, using “Rosie the Riveter” as her mascot. In fact, Kara once attended a Rosie the Riveter rally in Richmond, Calif., which attracted 10,080 Rosies in costume, a world record.
“After the first year in business I told Aaron he should quit Sears because I was so overwhelmed with customers,” said Kara. “But I warned him, ‘Rosie the Riveter stays.’”
They’ve never looked back. In fact, Sears was so impressed with Hale Appliance Services that they have contracted them to do their repairs and smaller deliveries. While they were both still at Sears, both Aaron and Kara were included in Sears’ “top 100 technicians” nationally, out of a 30,000 technicians nationwide.
Licensed through the Bureau of Electronics and Appliance Repair, Hale Appliance Services repairs a broad spectrum of appliances, including stoves, dryers, washers, dishwashers, garbage disposals, mowers, chain saws, treadmills and garage door openers. In addition to delivering and installing new appliances, they also do propane conversions.
While business is flourishing, the Hales say they would think long and hard before hiring an employee.
“We’d like to stay small, and our name is our reputation,” said Kara. “We’re very, very careful when it comes to other people’s homes and property.”
With 22 years’ worth of combined experience, and a memorable slogan, “Hale yeah, we can fix it,” Kara and Aaron say they each offer different areas of expertise. While they are often out on separate service jobs, they enjoy the times when they can work together.
“I love working with Aaron,” said Kara. “There’s really no downside. We’re a sounding board for each other.”
“We’re both doing something we love — every day is different and challenging,” he said. “It keeps your brain moving. We’re lucky to get up every morning and do something we enjoy.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.
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