One-Stop Shopping

BY BRIAN SHERMAN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS

AccentsSwiftApplianceVer2 Image 1

After spending what seems like forever driving from one big-box store to the next, you finally find the perfect oven to replace the aging model that came with your home 20 years ago. Finally, you can put the finishing touches on your dream to turn a once-lifeless kitchen into a culinary paradise.

A week or two later, a subcontractor shows up at your house, ready to install your oven, or so you think. Unfortunately, you soon find out that your new oven is just a few inches wider than the old one and that some expert carpentry work will be required. Or maybe a vent will have to be moved or your beautiful granite countertops cut and trimmed to make room for the new arrival.

In any case, someone at the big-box store has to dig into his files and find another subcontractor or two to do the necessary work, and your brand-new oven remains in its box, or worse, in the middle of your kitchen floor for a few more days, or possibly longer. Your dream kitchen has spawned a nightmare, at least temporarily.

AccentsSwiftApplianceVer2 Image 4
AccentsSwiftApplianceVer2 Image 2
AccentsSwiftApplianceVer2 Image 5
AccentsSwiftApplianceVer2 Image 3

You would not have had to deal with this unsavory scenario if you had saved some precious time and gasoline and driven directly to Swift Appliance. The Mount Pleasant-based company doesn’t use subcontractors. Instead, it relies on its own experienced employees to install a wide range of gas and electric washers, dryers, ranges, ovens, freezers, refrigerators and dishwashers. The toughest jobs are taken on by Andy Swift, whose wife, Nancy, owns the store.

“We do modifications most companies simply can’t do,” Nancy Swift explains. “Most companies sub out their installations. We can do anything that’s necessary, from cutting granite to modifying cabinets. We’re even authorized to run gas lines. We can take care of everything.”

The Swifts started the business in July 2012, after relocating to the Lowcountry from New Jersey where Andy earned a living as a general contractor. They weren’t new to the appliance business, however. During their time in the Garden State, they handled product exchanges for Bosch and Thermador.

They learned quickly that customer service is the key to success for any business, whether it’s located in New Jersey or in a fast-growing town along the Carolina coast. They’re open seven days a week, and they regularly consult with potential customers by visiting their homes to find out exactly what they want and can afford. For instance, homeowners might be interested in a professional grade range that doesn’t quite fit their budget. In that case, Nancy offers them a less expensive option made by Bertazzoni, an Italian company.

She looks out for her customers’ financial health in other ways as well. Nancy pointed out that if she knows that a manufacturer will soon be offering a rebate, she advises the buyer to wait before making a purchase. “We find out exactly what the customer needs. We look at their budget and get them what they want for what they want to spend,” she comments. “We truly work for our customers and make sure they get the best bang for their buck.”

Swift Appliance, which sells to residential homeowners as well as to builders, carries all the major brands of appliances, including Whirlpool, Jenn-Air, Frigidaire, General Electric, KitchenAid, Waste King, Marvel, Bertazzoni, GE Monogram, Lynx, XO and Blomberg. Nancy says it doesn’t take her long to special order any appliance she doesn’t have in stock. “You can buy it today, and turnaround time is very quick,” she says, adding that she offers free delivery in the local area.

Nancy also serves her customers by keeping up with trends in the industry. She says induction cooking surfaces are popular because they provide quicker and more evenly distributed heat while using less energy. Induction cooking isn’t new; it’s been around for decades. However, it’s only become affordable for most people in recent years. “We’re already selling a fair amount, and induction is getting bigger,” Nancy comments.

As far as looks are concerned, she points out that the New York City market is moving toward white. She says that trend should drift down to the Charleston area in about two years or so. For now, however, stainless steel appliances are immensely popular in the Lowcountry. “About 80 percent of our sales are stainless steel,” she adds.

If you are more concerned about the durability rather than the color and finish of your washer, dryer and refrigerator, how often should you have to replace your appliances? According to Nancy, their average life span is seven to nine years. And which appliances generally end up in the junkyard first? She cited microwaves, washing machines and the water dispenser on your refrigerator as the three pieces of equipment most likely to send you searching for a replacement.

When you need an appliance from an experienced local company, Nancy Swift will be there to offer you what you need. If you have any complaints, you’ll be taking them to the top, to the number one person in the company.

“If there’s a problem, you can call me and I’ll take care of it,” she says. “You’re dealing with the owner. You have to feel comfortable with the company you’re working with . . . we’re going to make your buying experience much easier.”

Brian Sherman is a Charleston-based writer.