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MASCOUTAH – After 48 years serving the residents of Mascoutah, Tom and Cheryl Sax are retiring, however the Speedi Chek convenience store will remain in operation by Tony and Sue Sax.
In 1974, Dick and Margie Sax purchased Speedi Chek/Lanter’s and their Western Auto store from Art Lanter. That same year, brothers Tony and Tom Sax graduated from high school, and Dick thought it would be a great family business opportunity for the boys. The boys attended Belleville Area College (now known as SWIC), and worked at the store. Margie had quit her job as a nurse and also started working at the store, as Dick still had his Curtis Industries job selling products and keys to car dealers. The three Sax daughters all at some point worked at the store also.
After Tom and Cheryl Sax married, she began working in the office and helping Margie out at the store.
The business started as a “Mom and Pop” neighborhood grocery store. In addition, it included a wholesale dairy and residential door-to-door milk delivery. The Western Auto store was in the same building.
The Sax business philosophy was simple – provide and meet the needs of the local community. After 48 years of business, a lot of change and growth has happened in order to meet those growing needs.
• In 1986, gas pumps were added under the Phillips 66 brand, and the Mom and Pop store became a convenience store.
• In 1989, the family purchased a Radio Shack franchise and Radio Shack combined with the Western Auto store.
• In 1990, a 50 x 75 square foot addition was added, and Radio Shack and Western Auto moved into the new space. The original store was then expanded to increase the convenience store square footage as well as adding additional office and warehouse space.
• In 1992, another addition was added for a lawn mower repair shop at the back of the original building.
• In 1995, a deli was added to the convenience store side, making fresh bread daily as well as offering sandwiches and lunch specials. In the late nineties, Sax’s again grew as the community’s needs expanded.
On the Radio Shack/Western Auto side of the business, Sax’s began providing cell phone service and satellite systems. Soon after, they began installing satellite and TV antennas, as well as offering custom home audio/video installation. The cell phone side of the business grew rapidly.
• In 2001, the Western Auto wholesale company closed its doors, and the Sax family changed the name to Sax’s Hometown/Radio Shack Store. In doing so, they joined the largest buying group in the country allowing them to buy Whirlpool appliances, and again expand their business. This also allowed them the ability to get other product lines and merchandise to fit the residents’ needs.
• In 2018, Speedi Chek changed fuel product brands and began selling VP Racing Fuels, which is still sold today, along with creating a popular deli and lunch time business.
The motto over the years has been, “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it.”
And now, after 48 years, Sax Hometown/Radio Shack store will be closing its doors. Tom and Cheryl Sax will be retiring. Tony Sax and his wife, Sue, will still be running the Speedi Chek side of the business.
Tony will continue with satellite, antenna and audio visual sales and installations as well as offer minor lawn service repairs. Tom will work by appointment only offering cell phone sales and repair, deer cameras, and crossbows. Appointments can be made by calling 618-401-3490.
The home appliance business, Illinois Department of Natural Resources hunting and fishing licenses, Verizon activations for prepaid phone service, air time for most prepaid carriers and other items will be relocated to Ace Hardware in Mascoutah where Bill Millikin will continue to serve the community.
Beginning the first week of February, all merchandise on the floor, with the exception of appliances, will be discounted. The first week-15% off, the second week-25% off, the third week-40% off, and the final week-50% off. Appliances will have special pricing when customers come to shop. Hours of operation will be Monday through Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. The doors will close on Saturday, February 26. The space will be available for rent sometime in the Spring.
“It has been a fun and great experience with all our customers and employees over the years. We are a family owned business and you are all like family to us,” Tom said. “We thank the community for letting us serve you, and we are looking forward to serving you still in our Speedi Chek store.”