By J. PATRICK PEPPER
DEARBORN — Adray Appliance Photo and Sound Center, a fixture in the business community and champion of youth sports in southeast Michigan, soon will be closing its doors for good.
A mainstay in the community since opening in 1955, the store known for its knowledgeable staff and benevolent founder will close within a month, according to published reports.
Company Vice President and General Manager George Bednar has said the store is closing because the owners, Louise Adray and her daughter, Debbie, want to retire and that financial troubles weren’t the cause. Louise and Debbie took over the business when Mike Adray died in 1992.
What Mike began as a small corner store eventually was expanded into a whole city block, and the business grew to include stores in Canton Township, Ann Arbor and Troy. Those stores were closed previously for varying reasons.
But even with the Dearborn store closing, the Adray name will live on. A successful online store will continue operations, and the Adrays reportedly have not ruled out the possibility of opening at a smaller location in the future.
Until remaining inventory is sold off in a “retirement” sale, the store will remain open.
“We’re purposely not having a going-out-of-business sale, because once you say you’re going out of business, it’s very difficult to make a comeback,” Bednar said.
The news came as a disappointment to Mayor John O’Reilly Jr., who noted Adray’s myriad charitable and civic contributions.
“Everything was Adray, and it was amazing,” he said. “It’s really just a major blow to the city. This is really kind of a sad day.”
More than 300,000 adults and children participated in Adray-sponsored youth baseball over the last several decades. John Shiancoe, a 22-year-old photojournalism student, was dismayed as well.
“I have always had Adray in my life,” said Shiancoe, a city resident. “I played Adray baseball as a little kid, and more recently I have relied on them for my photography stuff. This is upsetting.”