Retailing giant J.C. Penney has added household appliances to its product line, and the Waco store Friday held a ceremony to mark the opening of its 1,500-square-foot appliance showroom.

The new selection includes refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers and dryers from Samsung, LG, General Electric and others, according to a company press release.

Some may not remember that “Penney sold appliances from 1963 to 1983 under its own brand, Penncrest, before abandoning the category to double down on its apparel business,” according to a report on Penney’s new strategy on Fortune.com.

In the same article, Penney CEO Marvin Ellison said appliances were the most searched-for items on jcp.com that weren’t available there.

“Over one-third of our customers buy appliances in the mall, but not from us,” Ellison said to Fortune.

Penney introduced major appliances to 500 stores in 2016 and announced it is adding them to 100 more stores this year.

Roy Evans, general manager of the Penney store at Richland Mall, said he thinks appliances will go over well with customers.

During a phone interview Friday morning, Evans said he was “in the middle of a couple of possible sales as we speak.”

He said the store not only will offer a full line of appliances, but it will provide no-interest financing, free delivery and a price-match guarantee that will make it competitive with retailers citywide.

The store has hired four new employees and assigned them exclusively to its new appliance center, Evans said.

Car Care Day of Service

Freddie Kish’s Complete Car Care Center, 5300 Franklin Ave., will take part in ACDelco’s “Day of Service” scheduled Friday.

The automotive parts brand of General Motors is partnering with mechanics and charitable organizations across the country to provide free repairs to people who otherwise could not afford them.

Freddie Kish’s will provide services totaling $5,000 to several people it already has chosen, according to ACDelco.

A recent study by the AAA travel club found that almost a third of American drivers could not pay for unexpected vehicle repairs, according to an ACDelco press release. According to the study, 64 million drivers could not pay out-of-pocket repairs costing $500 to $600, which is the average size of a repair bill.

This marks the second annual National Day of Service sponsored by ACDelco, which predicts participating shops will provide repairs with a combined value of $200,000.

Whataburger sauces

Whataburger marked Cinco de Mayo with an announcement that two Whataburger sauces, Picante Sauce and Salsa Verde, soon will hit H-E-B shelves.

The San Antonio-based burger chain has collaborated with H-E-B on other product placements, including mustard and ketchup.

“We’re grateful for our partnership with H-E-B that allows us to bring these sauces into our customers’ kitchens to enjoy on their favorite recipes,” retail Vice President Mike Sobel wrote in a press release from Whataburger.

Small-business optimism

Texas ranks No. 15 nationally for small-business optimism, with 6.5 optimists for every one pessimist, according to a new study by Womply, a technology and data company.

The study, which polled 2,823 small-business owners in 50 states, revealed that 76 percent of Texas small-business owners are optimistic about prospects this year. That compares to 70 percent nationally who expressed that opinion.

Most owners expressing optimism said they did so because of the quality and quantity of customers, health of the state and local economy and financial health of the company. Their top reason reported for pessimism was the federal regulatory environment.

Top worries were listed as attracting customers, having enough time to conduct business and making enough money to support themselves and their families, according to the study.

Unfortunately, the optimism is not translating into plans to add staffing. Only 18 percent of Texas businesses plan to hire in 2017.

Recommended for you