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321-700-Urner's Circa 1930's

Profile appeared in our 32-1 Issue – April 2015

David E. Urner and Errol P. Janes entered the business community in a big way back in 1919. They opened Home Appliance Company, later known as Urner & Janes, and known today as Urner’s, in the midst of the financial recovery of World War I.

As two high school teachers-turned-entrepreneurs, Urner and Janes honed their selling skills during the summer, when Urner, specifically, successfully sold Wear Ever Aluminum Cookware off the back of his bicycle.

The men had a vision to run a new type of store; offering an impressive line of “modern” appliances, including washing machines, freezers, gas ranges, automatic dishwashers, and small appliances.

Urner dreamed that the store would “cater exclusively to providing an easier way of living for the women of Kern County.” Every generation that has worked there since upholds that philosophy, creating a legacy of service unrivaled in this community.

While Urner’s son, David H. Urner, is the current president, and his step-grandson, Steve Illingworth, is the vice president, many family members have worked in the businesses in various capacities over the years, including granddaughter, Pamela Urner, and fourth generation great grandson, Cameron Illingworth.

From day one, Urner’s focus has always centered around the customer, emphasizing a personal touch in business, which is still evident at the store today, with their knowledgeable, friendly salespeople to whom many customers return year after year.

Urner and Janes

Urner and Janes

That focus also helped Urner’s survive The Great Depression and World War II, during which the store supplemented sales with dishes and toys, when metal was being diverted to supply the country’s war efforts. That resilience remains a point of pride for the entire family.

And just as important is Urner’s contributions to the community. David E. Urner was instrumental in the development of many organizations in the early 1900s, including the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce, the Better Business Bureau, and the Merchants Association. Urner’s has been involved with numerous organizations including Teen Challenge, the Bakersfield Symphony, Houchin Blood Bank, the Bakersfield Rescue Mission, and the Bakersfield Art Association, just to name a few. David H. Urner inherited his father’s civic pride and has been a key component of Bakersfield’s Sister City Projects in both Japan and China.

As it has done for 96 years, Urner’s continues to watch for growth opportunities and expanding product lines, including what is arguably the Central Valley’s best selection of mattresses and sleep sets at their Z’s Please locations. It’s this effort that has earned Urner’s annual recognition as the best place to buy appliances, electronics, or mattresses and it will allow the business to continue offering “better products for better living” for generations to come.

After almost 100 years in business, Urner’s focus remains on providing an “easier way of living for Kern County.”



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