About Nostalgia Electronics
With over 40 years of specialized experience in repair and restoration, proprietor George Efthimiou specializes in integrating vintage and modern juke boxes into state-of-the-art sound systems for bars and restaurants.
Featuring remote control wallette (diner style) for home, restaurants and bars, and 50's 60s and 70s CD music packages, you can contact us about your order or repair needed. (480) 946-1654 or contact us online for an appointment.
"Nostalgia Electronics Home is dedicated to the preservation of this unique American art form."
Repairman brings life back to old jukeboxes
Written for the Arizona Republic on Jun. 22, 2007 02:49 PM by Michael Ferraresi Rarely does the public get to play with the bright, noisy machines "Jukebox George" keeps locked away in his Old Town shop.
The storefront of Nostalgia Electronics, next-door to Pischke's Paradise restaurant on First Street, usually appears dark and uninviting. The man who runs the place is elusive, seen by appointment only.
George Efthimiou repairs vintage jukeboxes, pinball machines and slot machines for a living. His shop is somewhere between an antique art gallery and arcade. With the lights on, Efthimiou's place glows with the aura of dozens of pricey collectibles owned by people across Arizona. "The jukebox is the electronic art of America," Efthimiou said. "After the '80s and '90s, a lot of people started buying them to reminisce."
Efthimiou says he's the only person in Arizona who repairs jukeboxes for a living. The 67-year-old native of Greece said he settled in Old Town Scottsdale nearly 11 years ago because of the antique-like service he provides. He wanted to be around people with that type of interest, and many Scottsdale residents have the means to buy such pricey toys.
Jukebox repair services are rare in the Southwest. One millionaire collector sent a private jet to fetch Efthimiou to fly him to a Denver mansion to personally maintenance a jukebox. Another millionaire paid for him to drive to Payson for a job earlier this week.
Efthimiou said he developed his knowledge of music-making machinery as a 16-year-old electrician's apprentice in Greece, repairing jukeboxes at restaurants throughout Athens. Known as "Jukebox George" by customers, Efthimiou came to the U.S. in 1980, and settled in the Dallas area. He established an electronics repair shop, but it failed, forcing him to move to Scottsdale and focus on jukeboxes.
Nostalgia Electronics is often closed, but Efthimiou said passers-by tend to drift inside whenever he's there working with a customer. He usually has to kick people out so he can make his next repair appointment. "It's like an amusement park for some people," Efthimiou said. "It doesn't show like a showroom. There's stuff all over the place, and customers want to spend time in there."
The most common song selected from jukeboxes? One of the many versions of Don't Fence Me In," Efthimiou said, adding he's a big country music fan.
Vintage jukebox repairs range from $300 to $3,000. New machines cost $300-$1,500 to fix. Efthimiou also sells brand-new, replica jukeboxes for around $8,000, including those with built-in mounts for iPods. Other businesses sell new jukeboxes, such as billiard shops, but Efthimiou said he is the only one repairing the antiques in Arizona. "I'm getting calls from the competitors," Efthimiou said. "They're selling the new stuff but they can't fulfill the needs of their customers after they complain."
Roger Shuman, 54, said it took six months for Efthimiou to repair his 1986 Rock-Ola jukebox. Shuman, a Sahuarita resident, said the repairs cost $2,600 - nearly as much as he bought it for in the '80s. But he said it was well worth it. Efthimiou demonstrated the repairs to Shuman by blasting a Jimmy Buffett song at full volume. The sound seemed on par with a modern CD player, rather than an old jukebox. "I'm thinking of parking it somewhere to make some money," said Shuman, who drives a school bus in the Tucson area. "I've always just had it in my house as a conversation piece."