When Bob Cervera took over F & S Electronics back in the 1980s, he was only 30 years old. He surely had high hopes — never envisioning himself going out of business.
He and his wife, Gail, have owned F & S for the past 33 years. In that time, the store has had a lot of signs hung in its front window — countless sales, specials, and events have gone by.
But Monday, Bob hung a new sign in the window — a “going out of business” sign.
F & S will close permanently within the next 30 to 60 days — the Cerveras haven’t set an exact date.
Having been in the retail business in some shape or form since 1973 (he started out employed by Radio Shack), Cervera is ready to kiss it goodbye, though this isn’t quite the way he wanted to go.
For her part, Gail feels a sort of “bittersweet excitement. I’m ready to get out of here because I’ve been here for so long,” she said.
Business has slumped over the years. As people have drastically changed their shopping habits — often preferring to go online — it has grown harder and harder for small, local stores such as F & S.
“It’s just been a struggle,” Bob said. “The economy’s just tough right now.”
Stores such as his also depend largely on patronage from Fort Riley and with so many troops deployed right now, he has seen a drop in business.
F & S, which used to be affiliated with Radio Shack, also suffered a blow a few years ago when Radio Shack declared bankruptcy.
“I almost did this a year ago, maybe should have,” Bob said. “But I had to give it another shot, see what happened.”
“Can’t stick it out when you’re losing money,” Gail said.
Bob’s going to miss the business, especially the clients. F & S has a small base of regular customers he has enjoyed working with. Though the Cerveras feel it’s time to go, they’re not leaving because they haven’t enjoyed the business.
“At my age, it’s just time. I’m tired,” Bob said.
It may sound strange, but his dog, Jack, will probably miss it too. Jack has come to work with the Cerveras since he was only six months old.
“He’s the one that’s going to miss coming to work every day,” Bob said.
Though he’s leaving retail, Bob has no intention of departing from the community and he’d be thrilled to talk with anyone who wants to take on the challenge of opening a new business in Junction City.
“I know we have a new EDC director in town and I hope that I can sit down and talk with her and maybe make some suggestions,” he said. “There needs to be some changes around here, we’re losing a lot of businesses.”
He plans to remain as active in the community as ever, if not more so.
Gail isn’t so sure what she’ll do with all her newfound free time. She has several options to consider in the next month or two before F & S closes for good. The Cerveras haven’t taken a real vacation together in about a decade, so that will probably be on the itinerary somewhere.
Bob has a couple ideas as to what he wants to do now that he’s no longer a business owner, but he’s keeping them quiet for now.
He plans to sell the building or rent it out, if possible.