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1923 view of the inside of the store. PO11.202
Niles oldest and largest electrical contracting firm and appliance
deale,. Rice Electric at 11 North Main Street, began life as a
partnership of Rose and Rice Electric Company in 1921.
Operational headquarters were, at that time, at Wade Rose’
home on Franklin Avenue. A year after the inauspicious beginning,
the two-man operation moved to a Church Street location from
which it operated for close to two years before switching again
to 46 State Street. Always on the lookout for a more spacious
shop and increasing service with every step, the partners made
their next-to-last move in 1930 when they opened a store at
8 North Main Street near the Antler Hotel. They had been adding
new lines of merchandise whenever space and time would permit.
In 1923 Rose and Rice took on the local dealership of the first
RCA radios, which incidentally, was their first appliance.
In 1924 they introduced the Kelvinator refrigerator to a skeptical
Niles public. Ralph Rice, quiet president of Rice Electric
says, “ It was sure some job to sell refrigerators then.
They cost too much money and people were used to ice. They didn’t
need them then.”
was in 1929 that Ralph bought out Rose but the name wasn’t
changed until he moved the store to its present location at 11
North Main Street and renovated and remodeled it. “While
the new store was being built, the business carried on from the
alley as carpenters and decorators took over the front of the
store”, laughed Ralph.
Ralph is a veteran of the electrical business,
having been in it since 1916 and before coming to Niles, was in
the contracting business in Youngstown. Guy Rice, vice-president,
Ralph’s brother, has been in the firm since 1924 and is
now in charge of the contracting jobs. Lester, a nephew
of Ralph, is assistant manager of the store and has been with
the firm for two years. Mrs. Esther Rice is secretary-treasurer
of the retail division. Daily Times April
After Ralph died in 1949, his wife, Mrs. Esther
Rice, assumed the presidency of the corporation. Her son, Don
Rice, upon graduation from McKinley High School in 1950,
came to the assistance of his mother. The business was not new
to him, as he was reared in a basket back of the cash register.
At the age of 10 during World War II when Rice Electric could
not buy Christmas tree lights, he can still remember spending
evenings and Christmas vacation making and installing sets for
customers. After two years in the service, he returned and assumed
many of the responsibilities from his mother. In 1958 he became
vice-president and treasurer of the company.
When Mr. and Mrs. George Frech retired
from the grocery business in 1959, Rice Electric, still striving
towards a bigger and better showroom and repair shop, completely
remodeled, redecorated and moved to 15 North Main Street.
Picture of a store display window
featuring a modern refrigerator for Rice Electric, 1931.
Parade float for the Rice Electric Co... Only
"October Parade" on picture., no date
Business name changed to Rose-Rice Electric. Also NRA design
on the float. PO11.210
Float from Rice Electric Co, ca
Ralph Rice is in the back of the float
beside him is his daughter Ruth.
Ralph Rice died in 1949. PO11.201
11 North Main Street in 1940 or
1950, Don Rice.
Second truck load of Electro Luxe's delivered
in the spring of 1936 at the store on the west side of Main,...Corner
of West Park and Main. Sign over entrance still reads "Rose
and Rice Electric Co.".
In picture:Guy Rice, Richard Redmond, Bill
Bevan IOOF Ralph Rice and Donald Rice.
Window display at Rice Electric
shows the evolution of the washing machine. PO11.205
Don Rice at 11 North Main Street.
Taken the early 50's. PO11.208
Grand opening of Rice Electric at
15 North Main March 26, 1960.
John Iwonikow, Hoover Representative, Mrs. Oliver
Williams, Don Rice. PO11.209
Display of modern television sets
taken March 1960, the grand opening at 15 North Main.
Typical linoleum square tiles
in a diagonal pattern. Above the TVs are an assortment
of clocks and small table lamps. PO11.207
Niles Daily Times advertisement
for Rice Electric, ca 1926.
Radio was becoming more popular as the number
of commercial radio stations increased. Especially popular were
the stations that broadcast music.
The first radios for the home were set on tables
or desks. Soon, full-size cabinets with the radio were available
Niles Daily Times advertisement
for Rice Electric, 1949.