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Long before canvas shopping bags emerged as a symbol of environmental enlightenment, prudent people were doing their thing—getting shoes resoled, making do with trusty old appliances—without fanfare. Now these folks are getting their due; yesterday’s penny pinchers are today’s green-savvy heroes. After all, why buy new when you can fix what you’ve got? We present some local businesses that can help take you off the fast track to the landfill and on the road to repair.
Now that basic countertop microwaves sell for less than $100, many people are opting to replace their aging models with newer (if flimsier) ones. But for those who see no need to part with their sturdy dinosaurs, there is the Microwave and Appliance Repair Company.
The company repairs both countertop and built-in styles, but free estimates apply only to what you can bring in the shop, says owner Jodi Morrissey. A diagnostic home-service call is $68 and a typical repair (such as a door switch) runs $28 to $48 or more.
• Microwave and Appliance Repair Company, 5741 Auburn Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 334-7533
Slingbacks slumping? Erin Hayes Shoe Repair promises to put the spring back in your step. The pros at this shop offer common repairs like resoling, but they specialize in modifying shoes, including adjusting a fit that is too narrow or too wide, lengthening or shortening straps, and adjusting the heel height on pumps. They can even make the calves of boots larger or smaller for a better fit. Plus, says owner Erin Hayes, hers is one of only a few businesses in the area that repairs snapped-off stiletto heels.
People who make a living from their fancy footwork—dancers with the Sacramento Ballet and California Musical Theatre—trust Hayes’ team with their soles. But the service doesn’t stop with shoes. Hayes says they can shorten purse straps, adjust belts, dye shoes and tackle “any job that requires heavy sewing,” including everything from pet leashes to harnesses for horses and service dogs.
• Erin Hayes Shoe Repair, 515 L St., Suite 1040 (inside Westfield Downtown Plaza), Sacramento; (916) 448-7463
STONE AND MARBLE
If the stone floors or marble mantel in your home are crying out for some TLC, chances are Forrest Stone Restoration can help. Owner Ed Forrest has more than 30 years’ experience restoring all types of stone surfaces—granite, travertine, limestone—as well as brick, ceramic tile and concrete. Typical jobs include removing layers of aged coatings, sealing and polishing. Forrest says repairs can usually be done at a fraction of the cost of full replacement.
Forrest oversees every job personally (as he did during the replacement of 67 tons of granite on the south portico of the state Capitol after a big rig crashed into it in 2001) and can travel to most parts of Northern California. Prices vary depending on the scope of the job.
• Forrest Stone Restoration; (916) 455-6842; forreststonerestoration.com
When you want to run but your treadmill doesn’t, Viking Fitness Services & Repair can get you and your machine back on track. Owner Douglas Munson handles all jobs personally, including the servicing and repairing of treadmills, elliptical machines and stair-climbers. He also can install new cables on weight units and disassemble and reassemble equipment when you move.
Based in Sacramento, Munson serves residential and commercial clients as far as Vacaville, Stockton and Yuba City. A typical house call runs $100 (plus a trip fee depending on your location).
• Viking Fitness Services & Repair; (916) 339-9155
COMPUTERS AND DATA RECOVERY
Few things are more frustrating than a malfunctioning computer, especially the blue-screen errors that threaten to obliterate the contents of your hard drive with one false keystroke. Fear not! An experienced techie is but a phone call away.
Tech-Boy Computer Solutions can tackle problems large and small on desktops or laptops, including setup and installation, virus removal, networking problems and hardware upgrades. And technicians promise not to overwhelm you with geekspeak. “We talk to customers in laymen’s terms,” says owner Eric Tremoureux.
Tech-Boy covers the entire Sacramento region and offers fixed rates on all of its services. A diagnostic evaluation to solve minor issues is $87; a full system recovery, including reinstallation of all software, is $212. And, finally, a good reason to go gray: Tech-Boy offers a 10 percent discount for customers ages 55 and older.
• Tech-Boy Computer Solutions; (916) 715-3998; tech-boy.com
When your computer data disappears, whether you inadvertently erased your hard drive or backed over your laptop with your car, Konicom can help retrieve it. And given the company’s motto—“No data, no charge”—it can’t hurt to try.
Konicom offers three tiers of service, according to technician Simon Lee, and can complete most jobs “within a day or two.” Recovery from basic errors runs $120 to $300; recovery requiring reprogramming is $300 to $800; and severe problems that require repair in a clean-room environment start around $1,000.
• Konicom Inc., 1819 J St., Sacramento; (916) 441-7373; nodata-nocharge.com
No modern-day bauble can replace a piece of heirloom jewelry, which is why finding a dependable jeweler to repair your antique brooch or restring your grandmother’s pearls is crucial. Hamilton Jewelers relies upon a small cadre of jewelers with specialties in antique and vintage jewelry, timepieces and contemporary pieces for their repairs.
“We are pickier than our clients are about how their jewelry is repaired,” says Hamilton vice president Daniel Farley, adding that the company can handle everything from extending a necklace to resetting and resizing rings to custom fabrication.
Costs vary widely depending on the materials involved. Resizing a silver ring might cost $25, while a similar job in platinum could run hundreds of dollars.
• Hamilton Jewelers, Pavilions, 504 Pavilions Lane, Sacramento; (916) 927-2300; hamiltonpavilions.com
Think breakfast is the most important meal of the day? Then you probably wouldn’t hesitate to get your high-end espresso maker or toaster serviced by a shop in the Bay Area, particularly as inexpensive replacement appliances have rendered such repair centers practically obsolete in Sacramento.
When you have a broken appliance that’s worthy of repair, this place has the pros and parts for you. The Gourmet Depot repairs and supplies parts for small appliances from more than 100 manufacturers, although it’s best to call before mailing or bringing in your broken item.
• The Gourmet Depot showroom and service department, 840 Folsom St., San Francisco; (800) 424-6783; thegourmetdepotco.com
Backhand not what it used to be? Maybe your otherwise dependable racquet could use some attention. TopSpin Tennis can make practically any type of modification you might need to improve your game, including restringing, regripping, adding weight to change the balance, and shaving down or building up grip sizes.
Owner Earl Uriarte, who claims to employ the only master racquet technician in the Sacramento area, says the knowledge base of his staff is unmatched in the region. And the pros apparently agree: TopSpin restrings racquets for the Sacramento Capitals. The store also sells apparel and shoes and offers a free racquet demo program for testing out the latest gear.
A typical restringing costs $20. Check the website for specials.
• TopSpin Tennis, 1801 Cirby Way, Suite 3, Roseville; (916) 781-5450; and 241 Blue Ravine Road, Suite 300, Folsom; (916) 293-8832; topspinsport.com
SEWING MACHINES AND VACUUMS
“Don’t wait until something goes wrong; it will cost you more.” That sage advice comes courtesy of Megan Paschane, a manager for Creative Sewing and Vacuum, which services all makes and brands of—you guessed it—sewing machines and vacuums.
According to Paschane, vacuums require a tuneup every 1 to two years while frequently used sewing machines should be serviced every six months or so.
The sewing machine and vacuum technicians at Creative have been servicing machines for 35 and 20 years, respectively, and pride themselves on providing ex-cellent customer service. Repair estimates are free. A vacuum belt change runs around $10; a sewing machine repair might cost $39 to $149 plus the cost of parts.
• Creative Sewing and Vacuum, 4141 Manzanita Ave., Suite 150, Carmichael; (916) 483-1414; creativesewvac.com
When unsightly stains and malodorous mildew are winning the war over your tile and grout, it’s time to call in reinforcements. Debby Parker, aka The Tile Lady, can steam clean your grout and return it to pristine condition. She also can take on small jobs like regrouting, replacing broken tile and recaulking around sinks and tubs with an expert hand—tasks that many tile installers won’t do.
“People think they want something new until they see the prices,” says Parker. “When I’m done, for a couple of hundred dollars it looks clean and neat.” Parker even offers do-it-yourselfers free tile-care advice online. But, she says, most people decide to hire her once they realize how much elbow grease is required to do the job right.
The Tile Lady travels throughout the Sacramento region and offers free, in-person estimates.
• The Tile Lady; (916) 721-4703; tilelady.net
Fast and friendly service—that’s what Pete Covitch, owner of Grips Fast Golf, promises his customers. Regripping is done while you wait, reshafting by the following day. And Covitch swears he never forgets a name.
Covitch says his personalized service is hard to beat. “They’re looking at the per-son who’s going to fix their clubs,” he says. “That gives people a good feeling.” Before you drop by, be sure to visit the store’s website for coupons and weekly specials.
• Grips Fast Golf, 4819 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 457-5532; gripsfastgolf.com
If scraping stained or peeling wallpaper from the walls isn’t your idea of a good time, consider hiring a professional to mend what’s already hanging there. Kevin Madsen, owner of Madsen Paperhanging, has been hanging wallpaper for 32 years and doesn’t back down from a challenge. “If it’s doable, I’ll do it,” he says.
From small tears to splitting seams to water-damaged walls, Madsen can repair problem areas using rolls of paper left over from the original job. Paper that has faded over time can pose a problem, however, so check to ensure that you’ve got a good match.
• Madsen Paperhanging; (530) 676-0420
TVs, VCRs and DVD PLAYERS
There’s no telling how many perfectly good televisions are being heaped into landfills as consumers rush to replace tube TVs with slick flat-panel versions. But Peter T. Son, owner of Coloma TV Repair, urges people to reconsider.
Son, who has been fixing all manner of media devices for 38 years, can repair nearly any brand of television (whether tube, plasma or LCD), VCR, DVD player, home theater system, CD stereo or camcorder. He charges a flat rate based on the size and type of item and handles the majority of repairs himself. That, he says, is what sets him apart from competitors: “I handle customers directly and I charge a fair price.”
Customers can bring small repair items to the store. For larger systems, which make up about 70 percent of his workload, Son provides in-home service for a $45 to $65 travel fee.
• Coloma TV Repair, 11082 Coloma Road, Suite 4, Rancho Cordova; (916) 638-5230
Maintaining a green lawn is practically a competitive sport in the Sacramento region. Since 1948, the folks at Capital Power Equipment have been helping locals keep their lawns well-shorn and tidy by providing parts and service for lawnmowers and the oft-maligned leaf blower. Most mower fixes can be done for $150 or less in about a week.
If you prefer to cut your grass the old-fashioned (and eco-friendly) way, using a push mower, Capital Power Equipment can transform your blades from dull to dazzlingly sharp.
• Capital Power Equipment, 2940 Freeport Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 447-9343
Before you sentence your tattered chaise lounge to the junk heap, consider restoring it with help from Carmel Restorations. General manager Steve Arnold says his nimble staff can do just about any type of repair: welding broken parts, sandblasting, powder coating, replacing slings and strapping, and recushioning (Carmel carries hundreds of samples of outdoor fabrics). The company also can put new glass on tabletops, fix or replace the cranks and ribs on umbrellas, and restore worn teak to mint condition.
“We’ve got a very talented staff, and I’ve tried to utilize every one of their talents,” says Arnold.
Prices vary depending on the work to be done, but Arnold says his staff can restore a teak set “for about half the cost of good new teak furniture.” Carmel Restorations serves the Sacramento area and beyond, offering pickup and delivery for an additional fee.
• Carmel Restorations, 5037 College Oak Drive, Suite C, Sacramento; (916) 338-0404; carmelrestoration.com
Rapid advances in camera technology mean camera repair technicians are in a constant race to keep their skills current. Isao Sato, owner of California Precision Service, asserts his team of professionals is up to the task.
“To keep up with today’s high-standard products, you must have high-standard equipment and factory-trained technicians,” says Sato. With 30 years of camera repair experience under his belt, Sato, who formerly worked for Nikon in Japan, repairs most major brands of digital and film cameras along with video recorders.
Just prepare to be patient. “People want to pick up the camera yesterday,” says Sato, “but we don’t rush our service because we want to do the job just right—to restore the camera to the same standard as the factory.” However, he’ll kindly dole out advice to inquisitive photogs. “We do repair products, but we’re also happy to assist customers with any product questions.”
• California Precision Service, 1714 28th St., Sacramento; (916) 451-1330; camrepair.com
It’s no secret that remodeling a kitchen comes with a big price tag, but modest repairs can extend the life of your existing kitchen and spruce things up for a fraction of the replacement cost.
Bob-Leon Plastics can repair most chipped edges on laminate counters and cabinets and replace burned or damaged sections of countertop with a solid surface insert that can double as a cutting board. For those with Corian counters, unsightly scratches can be sanded and buffed away.
CEO Patti Crowder says customers can feel confident about the workmanship: “All our installers are qualified journeymen.”
• Bob-Leon Plastics, 5151 Franklin Blvd., Sacramento; (916) 452-4063; bob-leon.com
PORCELAIN, CRYSTAL AND FINE CHINA,
Some objects are impossible to part with, even when they’ve lost their luster—or are otherwise cracked, chipped or shattered into small bits. Whether it’s a broken hand on a Lladro figurine or a chip on a Lalique vase, husband and wife team Charles and Barbara Karoly of Karoly’s Porcelain & Glass Restoration can work miracles on the most delicate repairs.
The couple founded the business 15 years ago after learning to repair their own antiques collection. As their skills grew, so did their business. These days, they work on up to 200 pieces at a time in their crowded home workshop in Carmichael.
The Karolys mend both decorative and utilitarian pieces in every conceivable medium: glass, gesso, porcelain, papier-mâché, soapstone, marble, ivory . . . the list goes on. Straightforward glue-only repairs run $20 and up, while painstaking “invisible restorations,” as Barbara calls them, start at $50. Turnaround time is anywhere from three weeks to several months depending on the complexity of the job.
• Karoly’s Porcelain & Glass Restoration; (916) 944-4847
Any bibliophile will tell you that few things are as cherished as a book that has been passed down through the generations. Unfortunately, not all bindings can stand the test of time. In such cases, the folks at Cal-Na Bindery can extend a book’s life with a brand-new binding and cover.
“Everything we do is handmade and all work is done on premises,” explains manager Paul Calonder, whose father co-founded the company in 1972.
Prices vary depending on the materials used. An heirloom Bible can be re-bound in genuine leather starting at around $65, while pricing for vinyl starts around $35.
• Cal-Na Bindery, 1508 S St., Sacramento; (916) 447-4355
GO ASK ANGIE
It’s easier than ever to investigate the reputations of service businesses thanks to user-review websites such as Yelp and Citysearch—invaluable for everyday queries such as where to find a dependable dry cleaner or a good nail salon in your neighborhood.
But for major fix-it projects such as installing a new roof or painting your house, it’s crucial to find reliable, unbiased information on a business. Enter Angie’s List (angieslist.com). For $40 annually (or $5.25 monthly) plus a $10 sign-up fee, you can access a members-only online database of local user reviews on everything from contractors to mechanics.
Using Angie’s List is akin to asking a trusted neighbor, “Hey, know any good plumbers?” except you’re asking thousands of neighbors instead of just one. Angie’s List consolidates user feedback, making it easy to search online for the best-rated providers. And there are safeguards in place to weed out bogus reviews. “Any time we question the validity of a report, we’ll remove it,” says Angie Hicks, founder and chief marketing officer of the Indianapolis-based company.
Teresa Miles of Folsom says she won’t hire a contractor without consulting Angie’s List first. “If I see a plumber on the list who’s got 10 referrals, I’m going to use him before I use the guy who only has one,” says Miles. For her, the money and headaches she has saved are worth the membership fee.
Wary of contractors who overbid projects in her affluent neighborhood, Miles recently obtained two quotes on installing gutter guards on her house. The bid from the contractor she found on Angie’s List came in at $2,200. The other: $7,000.
Since 2006, when the Sacramento chapter of Angie’s List opened, more than 4,150 members in the region have rated more than 4,600 local companies—and the list keeps growing. What are the five most popular searches for? Plumbers, handymen, electricians, roofers and landscapers.