Sadly, Bud Sickmen passed away July 9, 2003. He is very much missed by his surviving family, employees and the community. We'd like to share with you some of his final thoughts.
REFLECTIONS OF BELMONT TV'S FOUNDER
Everyone knows me by the name "Bud Sickmen." In 1938, I came to Washington, DC and began working for the Singer Sewing Machine Company. In 1941, I opened a sewing machine repair business. However, feeling a sense of duty while WWII raged, in 1943 I volunteered for duty in the US Army and was later honorably discharged. Upon returning home, I bought into a small radio repair business with Curly Dolph, an experienced electronic technician. After 5 years, we separated amiably. I retained ownership of the store located on 14th and Belmont Streets, NW, in Washington, DC, and Mr. Dolph assumed ownership of the store that we had established in the 6100 block of Georgia Avenue.
As the business prospered, several stores were opened in various shopping centers throughout Virginia and Maryland. Stand-alone stores in Arlington, Virginia and Laurel, Maryland were added later to strengthen our presence in the retail market. In 1961, a stand-alone store in Glenmont, Maryland was rented, adding to our growing chain of retail stores.
As the consumer electronics industry changed, so did Belmont TV. Smaller stores in shopping centers were eliminated in favor of freestanding locations. This made it easier for our customers to obtain service or purchase electronic parts, televisions, or other consumer items. I wanted to make everything as convenient as possible for our customers.
Throughout the years, I have done my best to adapt Belmont TV’s product offerings to insure that our customers always received high quality electronics at reasonable prices. If a particular brand or product line no longer fit these criteria, we would make appropriate changes. In the area of service, Belmont TV has always done its own repair work whenever possible. This resulted in saving our customers money, as well as reducing the time that our customers are without their valuable electronics. Prompt and professional service is our trademark.
Part of my management style involved regular weekly visits to all of our stores. In order to foster a family environment in our business, employees and their families often spent evenings out with my family and me. I sincerely believed that if I treated my employees well, they would be better equipped to deliver excellent customer service.
Belmont TV has always been under family management. My son, Kenneth Sickmen, has been with the company for over 30 years and my son-in-law, Arthur Luhmann, for almost 35 years. I am now over 90 years old, and, unfortunately, my physical condition does not allow me to travel regularly to the stores as I would like. However, I maintain contact with the manager of each store to insure that Belmont TV continues to operate with the same values and principles that our customers have come to expect and appreciate for over 60 years.
As a closing thought, my family and I would like to thank you for your business and loyal patronage for almost 60 years. I am sure that succeeding generations of my family will continue the traditions that have made Belmont TV a successful business in our community.