Top Appliances for a Dream Kitchen
Carrying the torch for friendly, local service and installations
By Elizabeth Sugg Photos by Diana Matthews
The custom kitchen in the Linden Clos house features Jenn-Air appliances and an XO hood purchased from Kees Appliance Center. The kitchen needed a downdraft range and cooktop, and Jenn-Air invented that capability for people that don’t have the option to vent out of their home. The Jenn-Air double oven and built-in refrigerator completed the set.
Housed in a historic 1904 building in Aberdeen, Kees Appliance Center is the source for modern, high-end appliances in the Sandhills area. They service towns mostly within a 30-mile radius. “Today we have been to Sanford, Laurinburg, Seven Lakes and Ellerbe. Last week we were in Fayetteville for a job, so we go to lots of places,” says owner Craig Baggett who after 27 years still speaks with an enthusiasm about the business he came to work for in 1992 as a young family man for longtime owner Vern Elhart.
Baggett began at Kees as it was moving from its location in Southern Pines. He did a little bit of everything as the business made the transition including helping fix up the 100-year-old building that had begun as a grocery store and at one point was rumored to be some sort of 1970s disco. “I mostly did appliance installation in the beginning,” says Baggett, and then “we began to grow and I began to work more with customers on the inside, and for 15 to 20 years I was general manager, then in 2016 Vern retired and I bought the store.”
He likes the business because he likes dealing with people. “I feel like we help people solve problems, or maybe we help them with their dream homes. Whatever the situation, it’s satisfying.”
His words echo the ones by his office manager Jaime Gillespie who has worked for Baggett for six years. Before taking the job at Kees, she had “done a little bit of everything” including having her own painting company. Gillespie seems to have hit her stride at Kees because she “loves dealing with people, and I like to multi-task.” She does all the advertising, marketing, invoicing and she says with a laugh, “babysitting.” Does she ever get to see some of their finished kitchens? “No, that’s the only bad part is that I never get to see anything.”
Kees sells appliance lines that box stores don’t carry – Jenn-Air, Speed Queen, Miele, Sub Zero Wolf, Bertazzoni, and the list goes on. “We have a Maytag washer that’s amazing, and a box store can’t get it,” Gillespie says, and explains that there is a misconception sometimes about the “big sales” at the box stores; Kees price matches, and they are able to offer similar discounts because they buy their appliances with a group of other independent stores.
They recommend Jenn-Air products because of their customer service. “If there is a problem, they will come switch it out or fix it, and they are just easy to deal with.” And because Kees’ installers are factory-trained, its customers usually receive an additional year to the two-year warranty for parts and labor, and that adds a lot of value. The XO hood is Italian-made, and the line has stylish options as seen in the featured kitchen.
Gillespie grew up in Carthage and Baggett in Pine Bluff, and the staff has been together for a while. Baggett is proud to stand behind their work. “I know it sounds corny and lots of people may say it, but if you bought a Kees appliance, we take care of you. You don’t have to get on the phone with a long item number, get put on hold and try to get help.” And that may be the best news any customer may want.
Kees Appliance Center is located at 104 E Main St in Aberdeen.