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.