Ralph and Evelyn Smothers opened Ralph’s Appliances to the residents of Tiffin and the surrounding area in 1950, originally selling washers and dryers, and then, over the years, adding refrigerators, ranges, dishwashers, and microwaves. Ralph and Evelyn continued to build a very successful business and in 1985, they were joined by their son Ralph II. Soon after, the business moved from 45 North Washington Street to its current location at 33 North Washington Street. In 1991, Ralph II added kitchen design services and cabinetry to the business.
Ralph II met his wife Julie on a ski trip, and they were married in 1994. Julie grew up in London, Ontario, Canada, and made her living in sales for an imported wines distributor. With Julie’s passion for cooking and Ralph’s passion for kitchen design, it was only a matter of time before the idea of combining the two came to fruition.
The second Ralph’s Appliances opened in Fremont in May of 1995. Here, a beautiful, fully functional kitchen designed by Ralph was installed and served as the beginning of the current concept. Julie was managing the store and saw the opportunity of doing not only cooking classes, but of bringing in better quality kitchenwares. The community responded with overwhelming support! For the next three years, Julie continued to add new kitchenware lines and fill cooking classes.
Ralph and Julie’s first son, Will, was born in April 1998. Soon Will was joined by his brother Sean, born in May 2001, and their sister, Lucy born in November 2002. It became clear that the “Joy of Living” had to be moved to their hometown of Tiffin if the concept were to continue to thrive. The Tiffin store was expanded and on October 8, 2003, Ralph’s Joy of Living opened with yet another new category -It was a thought that wine would “complete” the Joy of Living concept, however new gourmet foods, fresh roasted coffee flavors, hand crafted beers, and ready-to-bake breads are added on an on-going basis. HDTV’s and home theater systems have been added! Ralph’s Joy of Living keeps growing and has something new and exciting every single month.
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