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Forest Lake TV, 4831 Forest Drive / 4231 Bethel Church Road / 3538 Covenant Road: 2007 (?)   14 comments

Posted at 6:56 pm in historic,stores

Doing the post on Forest Lake Park made me think of Forest Lake TV.

Why? Because the original (as far as I know) location for Forest Lake TV was in the Forest Lake Shopping Center, directly across from the park:

You can still see the stenciling for "Forest Lake TV" across the top edge of the building, though there is now a frame shop in the location. Back in the 60s and early 70s, this was the place we called whenever one of our TVs was acting up. In the case of our floor model (a large 25-inch) black & white behemoth, they would make a house call, fix it there if they could, or otherwise cart it back to the shop. In the case of our 12-inch black & white portable (purchased after I assured my mother that I could fix the big tv -- I "fixed" it all right..), we would cart it to the shop ourselves. In some cases, when the fix was more than just changing a tube (kids, these were like incandescent light bulbs inside your tvs and radios! :-), the set might sit for weeks at the shop awaiting parts. This always seemed unreasonable to me (a kid missing all his shows..) but my parents seemed to feel the guys there knew what they were doing. I think we called them a few times after getting our color TV, but gradually it seemed that TVs were something you didn't fix. New sets were full of more integrated circuits and fewer components that could be swapped out one by one (to be fair, new sets were generally more reliable from the get-go as well).

I think this trend hurt Forest Lake TV, and sometime in the 70s or 80s, they moved to a location I considered a bit more out of the way and a little downscale, a site on Covenant Road near Trenholm park:

In this case as well, you can still see the stenciling for "Forest Lake TV" if you look hard. I think they had also added "and VCRs" at this time as well. I was living out of town by this point, so I never brought anything to them, and I'm pretty sure I would have heard if my sister or parents did, but I would drive by from time to time, see that they were still open and think "that's nice".

Sometime after that, they moved again, just a little ways down Covenant to a place that struck me as a bit more downscale still:

I'm guessing from the "Y2K" (remember that?) signage in the window, that this would have been the late 90s. After that, well, VCRs got so cheap that nobody ever had them repaired, and I don't think DVD players were even considered fixable. Sometime in 2006, I think, I was back in town, and the old color TV finally blew. I debated whether it was worth having fixed (it was about a 1978 model..) and called Forest Lake TV to see what it would take. I got an answering machine with a Mexican accent, so I'm guessing the place changed hands at or before the final move. I never followed up on it because I started moving my stuff back into town and just set up my TV from Aiken, and by the time I considered it again, TV technology was clearly changing too quickly to even consider fixing the old set.

Out of curiosity, I did call the number on the sign after taking the picture a few days ago, and it's been disconnected, so I guess the place's 40 year history has come to a close..

UPDATE 3 Feb 2009:

When I drove by the Forest Lake TV building today on my way to Moe's, there was a crowd gathered outside. I turned around and went back to see what was going on. The whole side of the parking lot was littered with VCRs, TVS, cassette decks, tuners amplifiers, vaccum tubes -- the works, and a crowd of people had gathered to rummage through the detritus.

I talked with one guy who seemed to be in charge of the building, and he said that the rent had been unpaid since last May and they finally got the OK from the Sherrif to clean out the building and throw everything to the curb. He expressed some amazement as to the sheer amount of equipment stored in the space and said it took several hours just to get all of it out and that there had been much more before people started picking through it (which he was encouraging). There were even enough large screen TVs to cordon off most of the parking lot to keep traffic from getting out of hand.

UPDATE 7 July 2010: Added two more pictures of the second location exterior above. For the record, the second building is not on Covenant Road as I said above, but on Bethel Church Road (and I have updated the post title to that effect), and is in fact, the old Ravenwood Pharmacy building. Also, it appears someone (perhaps the church next door?) is now using the end of the pharmacy building closest to Dollar General for storage:

Written by ted on April 1st, 2008

14 Responses to 'Forest Lake TV, 4831 Forest Drive / 4231 Bethel Church Road / 3538 Covenant Road: 2007 (?)'

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  1. Wasn't that grey building the old "Carolina Jasmine"
    florist back in the day (81-84 or so) ??

    FISH

    9 Apr 08 at 11:16 pm

  2. You may be right as that sounds vaguely familar (though I expect that anything I heard, like "Wasn't there a ferret store there after the TV place: Forest Lake Ferrets?" would sound vaguely familar too :-)

    ted

    10 Apr 08 at 12:39 pm

  3. I worked for Forest Lake TV for about 3 years. Vance Sharpe was the owner. We were one of the last tv repair places that offered "in home service". Liked the job, and Vance was a fair boss to work for.
    I work for Graham's TV Service now, so if you want a trained tv tech, give us a call! We now offer in home service again.

    Travis

    25 Apr 08 at 9:48 am

  4. Graham's repaired a remote for me once, back when you didn't just go out and buy a "Universal"

    ted

    25 Apr 08 at 12:22 pm

  5. A children's consignment clothing store recently opened in the Covenant Road location.

    Chris

    2 Jun 08 at 1:46 pm

  6. I saw that, but it appeared to me that it was in the left half of the building, not the part that had been Forest Lake TV.

    ted

    2 Jun 08 at 9:57 pm

  7. FWIW Forest lake TV was also at 4712 Forest Drive when I started working there in 1992. Vance moved the shop to the 1st Covenant rd location somewhere around 1996. I bought the shop from Vance around 1998 and sold it to John (the Mexican sounding voice) in 2001. He almost immediately moved it to the location with the 3532 on the building, odd to see the Y2K thing in the window. Does anybody if John closed shop or just moved again?

    I currently work for a shop in Oklahoma, business is MUCH better now that HDTV's have become commonplace.

    Bob

    16 Dec 08 at 9:07 am

  8. When that gray building was new (1967-ish) it was a nice old-style drug store. Cannot remember the name but it got my attention because it always had a couple of really good comic book racks.

    Dennis

    16 Dec 08 at 9:57 am

  9. I think it's gone, or at least the number was disconnected, and google doesn't turn up any new address. I still haven't done the HDTV thing yet -- I'll see how the conversion in Feb goes first..

    Hmm. I don't remember that being a drugstore at all...

    ted

    16 Dec 08 at 12:23 pm

  10. The gray building was a framing shop before Vance purchased it. The air hoses and electrical was still in place. Does anybody know what any of the old locations are currently being used for? The last know location was a rental when John moved the shop to it in 2001, not sure if he bought the building or who even owns it.

    I supposed John didn't want to start fixing HDTV's or he sold the place to somebody and they didn't want to repair HDTV's. A lot of small repair shops around here are going under that only want to work on the old CRT TV's. HDTV is the way of the future, if you don't do in-home service and work on big screens/flat screens you're sunk. This also means doing warranty work since most people buy the extended warranties on these sets.

    FWIW the conversion in Feb only affects those who get free TV over the air. Those who pay for Cable/Sat are unaffected.

    Bob

    17 Dec 08 at 7:25 pm

  11. Yeah, I know Time Warner will let me keep using the TV, but I assume all the content will be shot in 16:9 and that they'll have to letterbox it for 4:3 sets, which would be a significant loss in screen size.

    ted

    17 Dec 08 at 11:16 pm

  12. Ted, I do not think they are going to change aspect ratio. While HD is a digital signal, the converse is not true.

    ChiefDanGeorge

    18 Dec 08 at 6:45 am

  13. It will be interesting how the cable companies deal with the local TV stations which the cable company will be responsible for "down converting" into SD for subscribers. The FCC is requiring cable companies to do this for a few years until most of the old TV's are gone. I suspect they will keep full screens and cut off the sides of the picture to cut down on customer complaints.

    IMHO the FCC shouldn't have cut off the analog broadcasts so soon after requiring DTV tuners in sets, but that's a post for another blog.

    Bob

    19 Dec 08 at 6:39 pm

  14. Looks like John or whoever he sold the shop to finally gave up. Seems odd to pay rent through 5/2008 if they weren't doing any business.

    The TV's in the photos all appear to be 10+ years old, I didn't see a single HD set in the photos.

    Bob

    22 Sep 09 at 9:48 pm

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