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Making antiques seem new

Ryan Carter

The display cabinet in which Dan Hofeld displays pagers for sale is

getting smaller as his business stocks up on vintage radios.

With cell phones gradually taking the place of pagers, Hofeld and


his sister, Ellen DiGiovanni, have decided not to chase technology.

Instead, they have gone back in time and are specializing in antique


For the past four years, their Antique Radio Store, at 3819 W.


Magnolia Blvd., has specialized in selling and repairing radios that

date back to the 1920s. The store is filled with console radios,

table models, and “cathedral” and “tombstone” styles. Many have

wooden finishes, and several have phonograph players inside them that

still work. They range in price from $10 to more than $100 each.

The business has become a labor of love for DiGiovanni and

Hofeld, who spent several years in the pager service business before

redirecting their focus.


“When I’m working on some- thing, and I fix it and it plays, for

me that’s a lot different that hearing a beep,” Hofeld said.

Some like the radios as furniture pieces and others enjoy them for

their sound, which is produced through vacuum tubes. Others buy them

for what they symbolize, the owners said.

“I think it brings back a lot of the nostalgic feelings of when

time was simpler,” DiGiovanni said. “Nowadays everything is

disposable. But years ago, these radios were your form of


entertaining and your form of getting the news.”

The owners did not make the leap into the vintage radio market

blindly. Their father had worked in the mobile communi- cations

business, and still owns a vintage radio shop in San Diego. He, too,

was selling mobile communications equipment in the early days of the

technology, and suggested to his children that they should try to tap

the radio market.

“He says we’ve just begun to scratch the surface,” Hofeld said.