In the Wake of Disaster, Moderno Appliance Stages A Comeback

Moderno Appliance owners Victor Fernandez and Suzanne Carey-Fernandez in their Lawrence, Mass., showroom.

By Alan Wolf

A year ago this week the Merrimack Valley region in Massachusetts was rocked by a series of gas explosions that killed one person, injured dozens and set buildings ablaze. Thousands were displaced and more than 8,000 households went without gas for two months.

Among those affected were BrandSource dealers Suzanne Carey-Fernandez and her husband Victor. Their store, Moderno Appliance & Furniture in Lawrence, Mass., was left unscathed, but the impact of the disaster, and the use of their shopping center parking lot as a staging area for emergency crews, brought business to a halt. Some of their retail neighbors closed shop permanently.

The repair trucks finally left in January, and Moderno made it through the season thanks to Victor’s background as a service technician. “We survived on service,” Suzanne said.

To mark the one-year anniversary of the explosions and celebrate the heroes and resilient residents of Lawrence, Suzanne helped organize a Community Spirit Event at their Stadium Plaza strip mall. The family-friendly gathering, set for this Saturday (Sept. 14), will feature food trucks, children’s activities, fun workshops and even a stage for local performances, she told YourSourceNews.

The couple also plans to screen locally produced documentaries in their store “to give people a place to reflect and share their experiences over the past year,” Suzanne said.

“I managed to get other groups to help and even got donations to make this a larger event” than originally planned, she noted.

The celebration is intended to “start the school year on a positive note,” remind the community that local businesses are coming back, and to assure everyone that “We’re going to be OK,” she said.

The Community Spirit Event won’t be the first time that Moderno has taken a proactive approach to business. Launched in 2012 as an affordable furniture and scratch-and-dent/used appliance store, the couple relocated to Lawrence and joined BrandSource in 2017 in pursuit of all-new appliances and better-quality home furnishings. The gas explosions came after only 11 months in their Stadium Plaza location, but the couple remains undeterred.

“We’re making a negative a positive,” Suzanne said of this Saturday’s gathering.

YSN is published by BrandSource parent company AVB Inc.