As one of the Northwest’s most respected appliance businesses, Judd & Black Appliance has a long and storied history stretching back to before the start of World War II. Since its humble beginnings in Everett, Judd & Black has expanded to five retail locations in Snohomish, Skagit and Whatcom Counties, with an additional service and liquidation center. Starting with just a handful of employees, Judd & Black Appliance now employs more than 110 people, and has seen four generations of the Long family involved in running the business.
In the Beginning
The Judd & Black story begins with its namesakes, Wayne Judd and Don Black. The two men began working at Puget Sound Power and Light in Everett in the mid-1920s. Judd serviced electric appliances, while Black installed electric meters to homes. It was a time in which the power company, not a retailer, sold and serviced your household appliances. The two men even had the honor of delivering the first electric range and refrigerator seen in Snohomish County.
But in 1939, the power company stopped handling appliances, and Judd’s job was no more. Instead of remaining with the company in another capacity, Judd opened up his own shop and picked up the power company’s appliance-related business. The following year, Black joined Judd to form the Judd & Black Electric Company.
During World War II, Judd & Black’s early business focused on appliance repair, as new devices weren’t being built due to war efforts. By 1946, with the war over, Judd & Black sold new Westinghouse appliances. They also hired themselves an apprentice by the name of Bob Long. A Navy veteran, Long spent most of his time servicing appliances and doing wiring work on homes. As electric heat replaced wood and oil, Judd & Black became the first Snohomish County business to install an electric heat system in a chimney-less house.
In 1955, Black bought out Judd’s interest in the company, but kept the name. As Long conducted household electrical work for customers, he began carrying around a new electric washing machine in the back of his truck, showing it off to interested homeowners. Although Judd & Black’s appliance selling had initially taken a backseat to installing household water and heating systems, Long helped shift Judd & Black back toward appliances.
By the early 1960s, Judd & Black was installing around a quarter of Snohomish County’s heating systems. In 1962, they moved from their original location at 1908 Broadway in Everett to a new location at 3001 Hewitt Avenue. The new store featured three times as much floor space, and Judd & Black soon grew to be one of Washington’s largest independent appliance sales and service companies.
From Then to Now
In 1976, Long bought the business from Black, but again, the company name stayed the same. Long’s two sons, Bob Long Jr. and William Long, also were part of the business, having started by sweeping floors and washing service trucks. In 1987, Long Sr. sold the business to his sons. In 2005, their sons, Bob Long III and Cory Long, took over. Today, a fourth generation is moving up the ranks. Long III’s 28-year-old son, Taylor Long, is store manager at its Marysville location.
Taylor says his earliest memories of the family business involve climbing over the large appliance boxes that sit in their warehouses. He had his first official job with Judd & Black Appliance when he was 15 years old. He started out as a parts professional at the Marysville store, and over the years has worked in customer service, repair and liquidation, and now, a managerial role.
He’s proud to continue his family’s legacy of business tradition, including the company’s knowledgeable and down-to-earth service. Leading by example and always being willing to lend a hand to any employee is something imparted to him by both his father and late grandfather.
“We’re part of a team,” Taylor says, of the Judd & Black Appliance family. “I try to be as dependable as I can and have as many answers as I can. I’m not just someone who’s going to boss you around.”
Taylor Long has brought a fifth generation of the Long family into the world, as the father of a nine-month-old baby girl. It’s a bit early to know if she’ll join the family business, of course.
Judd & Black Appliance expanded into Skagit County in 2011, when Anderson Appliance approached them about taking over their business. The purchase was completed by December 2011, and nearly eight years later, the Mount Vernon store is going strong. At each of its locations, Judd & Black Appliance offers a full range of appliances from most major brands. Their service and liquidation center is ready to help repair any issue you might have with a household appliance.
And with business still booming, it’s safe to say Judd & Black Appliance will continue writing their history for many decades to come.