1. Howard’s

Several locations; Howards.com

Over its 75 year history, Howard’s, based in Southern California and owned by its employees, has served more than three-quarters of a million homes in the region. With stores in Huntington Beach, Irvine, La Habra and Laguna Hills, this local institution is also Orange County’s top choice for home appliances.

Over the past year, buyers have turned to Howard’s for major upgrades to their home appliances. “A lot of people have focused on how they could improve their living conditions at home,” President, CEO and Chairman of the Board John Riddle said by phone.

He notes that time spent at home during the pandemic may have led to overuse of household appliances, shortening their lifespan. Plus, with people spending less on travel and entertainment, they may have had more budget for household necessities. This is where Howard’s was able to help. The chain had already started implementing connected features in its stores to demonstrate the types of devices that are engaging consumers.

“What we saw were consumers looking for new, innovative big devices, especially those that are smart and connected,” says Riddle. This includes devices that connect to mobile devices or tablets, making it easy for people to plan meals or even check the refrigerator while shopping at the grocery store.

Amid last year’s wildfires, customers also turned to Howard’s for air purifiers, but the demand didn’t stop once the skies cleared, and that’s something that Riddle suspect to continue as people become more aware of air quality.

2. Pacific kitchen and auction house

Several locations; bestbuy.com

Although Best Buy has owned Pacific Sales Kitchen and Home for over a decade, the luxury appliance retailer has solid roots in Southern California. It was founded in 1960 and had 14 showrooms in Los Angeles and Orange County before it was sold in 2006.

Pacific Sales remains a popular spot for Orange County residents in the home appliance market from family-owned businesses Sub-Zero, Wolf and Cove, tech-savvy brands like Monogram or Dacor, or customizable parts from JennAir. The retailer offers a wide variety of high-tech home options, from application-controlled washers to refrigerators that help preserve product by absorbing ethylene gas.

In addition to locations inside Best Buy, there are standalone Pacific Sales stores in Brea, Huntington Beach, Irvine, and San Juan Capistrano. Stand-alone stores in Southern California also carry kitchen and bathroom accessories, including brands like Kohler and TOTO. Buyers can connect with sales advisors in-store, online, or via video.

3. The Home Depot

Several locations; homedepot.com

One-stop Home Depot keeps Orange County residents up to date with their home appliance needs.

“In the kitchen, we are seeing customers interested in refrigerators that combine design and innovation with features like more food storage, fingerprint resistant surfaces and double ice makers,” said Jabarr Bean, vice-president. Regional President, Pacific South for Home Depot, by email. .

In the Bean area, which includes Orange County, customers are also looking for washing machines with WiFi and antimicrobial technology and ranges with air fryers.

“Customers also benefit from greater flexibility in their appliances, such as larger capacity ovens to prepare multiple meals or dishwashers with a third rack to hold more,” says Bean.

Before heading to The Home Depot, check out the DIY Projects & Ideas section of the store’s website, which has items that might help you assess your home appliance needs. The Home Depot also offers a variety of home appliance installation and repair services through its professional referral program.

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