Southeast Steel is a family owned and operated appliance business serving Central Florida since 1940.
Today, the appliance warehouse showroom displays over half a football field of brand name appliances, carrying the latest models of the most popular American and European brands and maintains an extensive inventory of the most popular models.
Not every business in Orlando can boast that they have been around since 1940, but Southeast Steel has been able to buck the trend and continue going strong over the years.
That success is credit to their motto and mission to “give every customer a superior appliance shopping experience at competitive prices through experienced and knowledgeable sales consultants and a wide assortment of appliances from well known manufacturers.”
Many of these sales consultants have worked at Southeast Steel for decades.
As they prepare for their 80th (!!!) Anniversary in Orlando in 2020, we spoke recently with Spencer Kimball, who along with his father Stu Kimball, own and run Southeast Steel here in Orlando. Spencer is the third generation in the family to own and run the shop.
Local Orlando Industry Spotlight – Southeast Steel
Tasty Chomps: When was Southeast Steel founded? How did it all begin?
Spencer Kimball: Founded in 1940 by my grandfather Mr Lippton, as a building supply company, slowly evolving into kitchen appliances, still selling them today.
What were some of the biggest challenges in those first years?
As 3rd generation, I wasn’t around back in the first years, but I would imagine the steel used to produce the early appliances made delivery quite a challenge!
What were some memorable challenges through the years?
Biggest challenges today, as I’m sure previously, is the competition. From the days of Montgomery Wards, and HH Gregg to Amazon and Wayfair, plenty of options to buy appliances.
Growing up, what are some of your favorite memories of the store?
I’ll always remember visiting grandpa at the store, he would always have mason jars filled with nuts, bolts and screws, my was counting them, he had endless supply of jars ! Also playing in the piles of cardboard boxes, never lacked supply for fort-making material.
In those first years, what were the most popular appliances/items sold?
My guess, the refrigerator, washers & dryers ….. gotta have them !
What are some popular appliances/ items sold from back then that no longer exist today?
There was an item called a Hi-Low Range, it was an oven mounted above your range, instead of today’s microwave.
In your opinion, what are some things which differentiate Southeast Steel from other retailers?
Our knowledgeable staff to start, there are no other departments, lighting, lawn care, or lumber – We are just appliances and KNOW appliances!
What are some changes you have noticed from what customers want from then to today?
For the most part customer’s wants haven’t changed they come looking to build their dream. Whether it’s a commercial style kitchen, or upgrade to a quieter dishwasher, to getting more space in their laundry room with a stacked washer & dryer, the basic needs are the same.
What are some current popular appliance/items today?
One of the more popular items is the French-door style refrigerator; it’s the ‘IN’ thing Induction cooking has become much more mainstream, the speed and precision you get with induction rivals gas cooking
Where did your love of food trucks come from? (Follow Spencer’s food adventures at @mcofoodie on Instagram!)
I have a love of food, cooking and eating. The food trucks allowed the restaurants to become mobile, whether gathering in a parking lot offering multiple cuisines or having a truck cater an event, if its good food I’m in !
What are some of your favorite food trucks/restaurants around town?
Oh my, we are spoiled with so many great choices ….. must I choose ???!!!
Trucks: Little Blue Donut, SwedeDish, BemBom, Over Rice, Hot Asian Buns, Sushi & Seoul, Hayburner, The Pass Progressive Cuisine, Caro-Bama BBQ, Churros & Cream, KBBQ Taco Box,
Restaurants: BemBom on Corrine, Tamale Co, Pig Floyd, Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine, Hawkers Asian Street Fare, Christner’s
What does Southeast Steel have planned in the coming year?
Continue to help build those kitchen dreams for our customers. Going on 80 years in business, keep doing what we are doing ….. so far so good!
63 West Amelia St.
Orlando, FL 32801