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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Now, *that's* Tom Peterson's

It was.

Comments (13)

Wake up! Heeeeey, wake up!

"Free is a very good price!"

"Wake up to a happy day!"

"Have a chip! Take a sip!"

"That's Tom Peterson's (and Gloria's Too!)"

"Free haircuts!"

Dang, thanks for letting us know about the closure... I couldn't remember where I got "free is a very good price."

Another one bites the dust. Sad for us.

And not for the first time! Tom's's has gone bust at least once before in my lifetime.

A decade ago, I was smitten with a girl from Southeast Portland. After six months or so, we decided to shack up. We needed to find a bed. Not having a lot of money, we decided to check out Tom Peterson's.

As we lay there testing out one of the mattresses, the man himself came over to introduce himself. I was teasing my girlfriend, telling her it wasn't really him. She knew better.

We sat up and made introductions.

"Hi," he said, "I'm Tom."

"Hey," I said, "that's my name too!"

My girlfriend introduced herself.

"I'm Amber."

Peterson took a moment. Then smiled and said...

"T&A. I like it."

After the shock wore off, we chuckled to ourselves. We knew we had a great story. But we also knew we wouldn't be buying there.

So long, Tom.

I'm sorry they're gone. They were an institution - when Portland was something other than it is now. I know you can't turn back the clock, but I remember staying up later than I should as a kid, watching TV before the test pattern and the poem "High Flight" came on and invariably, there was Tom with his "wake up wake up" call.

I took an elderly friend to the Tom and Gloria store about 5 years ago, and there was the man himself, out on the sales floor complete with flat top.

You have to admire that kind of longevity in salesmanship.

I can't believe there wasn't some sort of big sendoff party for the guy (and Gloria, too, if she's still around).

From what I understand not all Portlanders had pleasant memories of Tom Peterson. It was reported that he sweet-talked his suppliers into extending him more credit and then turned around and filed a bankruptcy.

One may think they're getting something for nothing when they stiff their creditors like that but often times the creditors find other ways to get their revenge. That may explain why Tom Petersons' had to do some major downsizing and never really recovered financially.

I'm sorry to see them go. I was at a media event dinner about 15 years ago when I found myself sitting at the same table with Tom and Gloria. He had a lot of great jokes and one liners to share with the table. Later on that night he was one of the featured speakers; and kept the audience entertained with a talk of about 15 minutes done completely without notes of any kind.
I'm sort of amazed the local media did nothing about announcing the store closing - especially given the many thousands of dollars he spent on local advertising.

Back in 1985, my freshman year at George Fox University, in one class the prof had us all go around the room, introduce ourselves, and say where we came from. One kid who'd come up from California stood up and said, "Hi, I'm Tom Peterson." He couldn't understood why all the kids from Portland started cracking up at his name.

I saw Tom and Gloria about 4 years ago, visiting with their financial advisor.

Tom looked ancient, but he still had the same smile.

We bought our first washer/dryer from Tom Peterson's store (in 1992), and it was already had the look and feel of a business on the decline.

Sorry to see Peterson go out of business, but actually a bit surprised that he lasted as long as he did in this city of business haters.

BTW - thanks for hooking me up with a decent Portland blog. I tend to go with Moscow on the Willamette, but either one works and does speak to the politics of Portland.

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