Millman's Appliances was recently honored with a Torch Award from the Better Business Bureau, the latest success in a decades-old business that was once the nation's top-selling Montgomery Ward catalog store.
The award, which honors leaders in business ethics and community service, was delivered to Millman's Appliance Owner Gary Chorman, a Lewes native who has worked in the store since he was a student at Cape Henlopen High School in the 1980s.
Founded in 1969, Millman's Appliances was originally a full catalog store owned by Howard and Shirley Millman, where customers could purchase clothing, appliances and household items, along with other, more specialized items not typically available in general stores.
Until Montgomery Ward discontinued its catalog in 1984, Millman's was the top-selling store, receiving two to three shipments a week, Chorman said
"Back in the day, that's how everyone got their products before the internet," he said. "All our neighbors and friends would buy boat motors, paint, ladders, clothing and even jewelry from our catalog store. It was quite interesting what this store represented in the community."
Chorman, who bought the business in 2003, said to him, being a good business in the community means giving back.
"We proudly serve this community and support the local chamber," he said. "It's our responsibility as an established business in the community to look out for that community."
Since Chorman took over at the helm of the business, he said it has grown from "two guys and a pickup truck," and three product lines to now employ 15 sales, installation and delivery workers with a fleet of vehicles and 54 brands.
"We are industry leaders in this region," Chorman said. "Forty-six years established means and says a lot."
He also started one of the largest community outreach programs with a used appliance program when he bought the business nearly 13 years ago.
These days, when his staff delivers and installs new appliances they take the old ones and rehabilitate them for those members of the community who have fallen on hard times, Chorman said.
The business supports veterans associations, homes for battered women, People's Place, Hospice and local sports teams, among other organizations with various outreach programs.
Repeatedly recognized through the years by trade magazines and organizations, the owner said he's proud to own a family-run business that can compete nationally against big-box stores and the internet.
"These kinds of things set us apart from our competition," Chorman said. "From catalog days to the internet age is very different, but we've done extremely well. I think it speaks volumes about who we are and what we represent in the community."
Millman's Appliances is located at 28841 Lewes-Georgetown Hwy. For more information, go to www.millmansappliances.com or call 302-645-6215.