By Garrett Estrada
Ely Times Staff Writer
Some know him as the former mayor of Ely. Others remember a time when he ran an arcade and restaurant called “The Greek.” A younger generation looks to him as the gadget man at RadioShack.
However people see him, one thing hasn’t changed, George Chachas has been a staple of downtown for more than 30 years and he isn’t going anywhere soon.
It all started in the ‘70s. After having recently graduated from Weber State University, Chachas found himself with a job at a copper company in Ely. The doldrums of the working life gave Chachas the inspiration to start his own business, be his own boss.
“I was bored so I opened up an arcade to give the kids something to do,” Chachas said, referring to “The Greek,” an arcade and restaurant that used to reside in downtown Ely.
The “Greek” originally housed arcade games, but when the games started moving into the home through video gaming consoles, his business felt the hit. He brought in foosball and pool tables, and transformed the venue into something completely different on the weekends.
“Every once in a while, we would move everything to the side, and a school friend of mine would bring his band in and we would have dances,” Chachas said.
Chachas knew he was going to have to keep evolving his business to survive financially. That’s when it hit him.
“At that time it was economic survival. I had lost my job at the copper company. When the mine shut down, a lot of the people moved away, including the students. So I needed a new economic boost,” Chachas said.
He found that boost in the RadioShack franchise that he bought off a friend. Now, close to 30 years later, Chachas says he’s “married” to the business that he is the sole employee of.
Amidst walls covered in batteries, cables, connectors and more, Chachas said he thinks of his store as the one stop shop for the community.
“Am I a traditional RadioShack dealer? No,” Chachas said.
He eschews the traditional RadioShack model that leans heavy on the cell phone market to provide a much broader spectrum of gizmos and gadgets.
“I need to have the variety for the local people,” Chachas said.
It’s a strategy that has kept him in business throughout the years. Despite being in the electronics business for decades however, Chachas knows in this town, change comes slowly, so he still hangs two signs above his entrance.
“The old people know me as “The Greek,” so I left that up. Then when I got the RadioShack, I put that up, because those that don’t know “The Greek” know the RadioShack.”