PURCELL, Okla. (KFOR) – Dale Starchman has always been one of those people who liked to take things apart.
“It’s just a matter of getting it back together,” he chuckles.
The machine on his workbench this December afternoon looks like a sewing machine, but he calls it a serger.
Really, it could be anything.
Dale continues, “I don’t think my parents had anything mechanical or electronic that I didn’t have apart.”
50 years ago, he started a business in nearby Lexington that repaired TVs and appliances.
40 years ago, he parked himself in a quiet neighborhood in Purcell to fix computers, sewing machines, stopped clocks, and even vacuum cleaners.
While KFOR was visiting the shop, a customer came in looking for a replacement belt for his vacuum.
Dale gave it to him free of charge.
The Dells, Toshibas, HPs and Asis computer repairs pay his bills, but the Frontalinis, Bomars, and Ortigara bring him real joy.
“They come from varied places,” he says of his selection of musical instruments.
Dale’s Etc. includes the sale and restoration of accordions, too; any size, any model.
You can always find a Singer anywhere, but Dale prefers a squeeze box to his own voice box.
“I’ll try not to make any rude noises,” laughs Starchman as he gets his favorite accordion ready to play.
Every instrument is different, a living, breathing thing in the right hands.
“It’s the original, portable instrument,” he states. “They all have a little different character, a little different tonal quality.”
Dale brings them in from all over the country, but he won’t ship them out.
Accordion customers have to visit the shop to buy.
Because, he insists, “I want to fit the accordion with the person.”
In a one-room business where you wouldn’t expect to find anything extra Dale Starchman’s ETC. fits in a whole quilt, the world wide web, a world symphony, and lots of other stuff, all at the touch of his fingers.
With a sweeping gesture that includes the whole shop, Dale says, “All of this is the Etc.”
Dale’s Etc. is located on West Jackson Street in Purcell. He’s open Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
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