Estacada's television repairman plans to change the channel
When Carl Prokop first opened up shop in Estacada, television was a small picture in black and white that was rising in popularity.
More than 60 years later, the entertainment system has gone through many iterations, and Estacada's television and electronics repairman is planning on closing his business.
In November, he listed the building at 402 S.E. Main St., that houses Prokop's TV and Video Sales and Service, for sale.
Prokop described a letter from the city detailing sidewalk repairs that needed to be done as the impetus for selling the building. Prokop will pay to redo the sidewalk in front of the shop, and the city will cover the cost of ensuring that the curb is ADA compliant.
"I've been thinking I should (scale back) for awhile. I'm no spring chicken," Prokop said.
Sitting in the front of his shop, Prokop is surrounded by items like televisions and VCRs. An antique radio sits near the entrance. He's spent decades making service calls, repairing items for customers and selling accessories like antennas and amplifiers.
With 64 years in town, he estimates that his shop is Estacada's most longstanding business.
A 1953 graduate of Estacada High School, Prokop had joined the National Guard when he saw an advertisement for learning to repair televisions.
"I had always been good at that kind of stuff," he said, noting that he helped his father with carpentry and car repairs while growing up.
Prokop enrolled in the program and eventually worked in the National Guard's radio wire section.
In 1956, Prokop began working at an electronics repair shop in the back of a hardware store on Fourth Avenue at the current site of Dollar General, and previously, the Safari Club. In the early 1960s, Prokop's TV and Video
Sales and Service expanded to its own building across from the Safari Club. In 1971, it moved to Southeast Main Street, where it's been ever since.
Prokop described spending so many years in the business as "a learning experience."
"I know quite a bit about town," he said, adding that the building his shop occupies used to be a grocery store and a secondhand store. "I remember years ago, someone said I should write a book. I've had good times and bad."
He's appreciated the dynamic nature of his work.
"A lot of the challenge is figuring out what's going on. Sometimes it's a bad connection, sometimes water spilled on it and sometimes it's just a piece of junk off an assembly line," he said.
Prokop has witnessed firsthand the evolution of the television industry.
"There's been big changes. The first TV was just a big box with a little round picture," he said. "When color TV came out, I had to go to school for RCA. It's been a learning experience. It still is every day. These new TVs are totally different."
Additionally, he's noticed several other changes that have come with time and the rise of the internet.
"Parts places are drying up," he said, noting that many are purchasing these items online rather than local shops. "People like me, I use parts places, but I don't give them enough to help them stay in business. I'm one of the few TV repair shops left."
Prokop is looking forward to taking a break from technology after spending decades working with it.
"I liked VCRs better than DVDs. Everything's going to the computer now, and I'm not interested in learning that stuff at my age. I'd rather go out and work in my yard," he said.
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