By Fred Stabbert III
Town of Delaware Supervisor Ed Sykes sat back in his seat last Wednesday night, looking his...
Tom Cronk was born and raised in Liberty. He attended St. Peter’s Regional Catholic School and Liberty High School. Every day to and from school Tom passed 311 North Main Street, the building he would one day own. He started his business there on April 1, 1987 and has been serving the area ever since.
On April 4, three days after opening the business, his daughter Jen was born. Both Jen and her brother Nigel spent so much of their childhood at the store. They grew up knowing the business that their father loved so much. Jen is now working with her Dad to continue the tradition and when she comes off maternity leave in another month or two, will have her son Jude Thomas Friehling grow up there, just as she did.
Tom and Jen are working side by side to stay on top of the latest technology and continue to provide excellent sales and service. Don’t be fooled into thinking a family-owned, small town business can’t be competitive.
They’re on the cutting edge of technology and compete dollar for dollar with the big box and online stores. They price match them all and refuse to lose a sale! It’s their personal interest in the customers and concern for their satisfaction that really set them apart from all the rest. The pricing gets the customers to give Cronk’s Electronics a chance, and the service and dedication gets them to remain a customer for life.
Customers know they will be dealing with the same business practices and same committed ownership, year after year.
Tom says, “It’s a very personal thing for me. I’ve tried to please everyone over the years the very best I could. It truly bothers me if I didn’t. I guess that’s what keeps me trying so hard.”
When the store opened in 1987, the main focus of the business was repairs. Since then the business has expanded into custom audio and video, along with satellite installations. They were one of the first in the area to install DirecTV and expanded into installing and servicing the satellite internet providers Hughesnet and Exede.
Tom has worked very hard to become authorized to sell and service most manufacturers. Cronk’s is an authorized sales location and servicer of LG, Sharp and Samsung televisions, as well as most other manufacturers. They also carry Sonos, Yamaha and Denon audio products and many lines of appliances. They hope to have a show room for those very soon as well, but can get any product on request until that time.
Tom’s dedication to the business is certainly obvious but he places the compliment on his employees: “I am so blessed by the employees I’ve had over the years. They are hard working and dedicated. Working many 12-hour days to get a job done because I promised it would be. They’re my friends and coworkers. I’ve always avoided the doing the boss thing. I appreciate them so much!”
Tom dedicates most of his time to the business. Typical days start with arriving by 7 a.m. and going home around 7 p.m. He thanks his wife Beth for her patience and understanding. She has certainly learned that when Tom says it will be a ‘short day’ what he really means.
“I thank all of my customers of the past 30 years for their support and dedication. Without their trust in me to do the right thing, none of my efforts would be of value. I appreciate them so much and look forward to many more years.”
Story by Joseph Abraham