October 22, 2020

By BEN STODDARD

Steve’s TV has been in the television and radio repair business for 55 years, and remains one of the few independent stores in Kitchener-Waterloo where you can rent movies.

Today, the store also sells TVs and other home theatre equipment. They have around 8,000 movie titles available for purchase and 11,000 movies to rent. In the last few years, they also started renting out video games.

Wayne Berry joined Steve’s TV in 1985 as a repairman and remains there today. He’s seen the industry change over the years.

“Back then, everything got repaired, TVs, radios, VCRs,” Berry said. “These days, most people just throw out their broken stuff and buy new ones.” He said although there is still plenty of business to keep him busy, when he first started there were four repair technicians.

“Now there’s … me.”

Berry finds it kind of sad that people rarely have their TVs repaired anymore, adding that it’s cheaper to have them repaired than to buy a new one. He also said that TVs are not as reliable as they used to be – maybe because most people will just buy a new one.

The store was founded by Steve Mathieson in 1957 as a repair shop at the corner of Lancaster Street and Cedar Street in Kitchener. Berry remembers stories of Mathieson walking down King Street, and whenever he heard a radio that wasn’t working right, he’d offer to fix it.

“He basically lived in his shop,” Berry said.

Later, Mathieson began selling TVs and radios. In 1962 the store moved to its second location at 295 Lancaster St. When VCRs first entered the market, Steve’s TV was one of the first stores in K-W to rent movies. In 1984, the store moved to its current location at Fredrick Mall – a location with 12,500 square feet of space.

Berry attributes Steve’s TV’s success to their customer service.

“Most stores will just try to sell stuff. We try to help the customer figure out what they actually want.”

Randy Martin, who bought the store in 1996 when Mathieson retired, sticks with Mathieson’s philosophy – “Always give customers excellent products, good value and hometown friendly service.” The store’s website says that their business strives for “total customer satisfaction.”

“Mathieson is still alive and living somewhere up north,” Berry said.

For more information on Steve’s TV, go to www.stevestv.com.