Father-son team ply different trades in adjacent buildings

By Tom Dienhart

The father-son team of Charles and Dave Alm discovered that hobbies can turn in to profitable business ventures.

Dave, the son, owns and operates Dave's Computers in Brookston. Charles, the father, operates Woodworks.

Initially, computers were a hobby for Dave. He started buying computer products from companies and subsequently started his own company to get better prices. The time he spent with the business started to increase, so he opened his present shop at 109 W. Third St.

'The building was originally all woodworking,' Dave said. 'I did woodworking and I was also dealing with computers, which were my hobby.. When that expanded, I moved the computers into the building n6xt door.'

He has operated the computer store for seven years. Business has in-creased to the point he has two full-time employees, Jerry Hamilton and Charles Marchand. He does business with people in Lafayette, northern Indiana, Illinois and Michigan.

Among the myriad of software offered in the store, there is a workshop where clone computers are put together to customer specifications.

"That's one of the things that we do well," Dave said. "We build specifically for what people need. Many people come in who don't know what they want. People don't often know what's available, so you need to find out what they need."

Charles wife and Dave's mother, Lenore, is in on the act managing Dave's busy office. She retired a year ago after teaching second grade at Klondike Elementary School for 23 years.

Charles is a retired industrial arts teacher. He taught for 33 years, 25 of them at Tecumseh Junior High School.

When he gets the time, he repairs furniture at the shop at 107 W. Third St. But mostly he employs his vast woodworking knowledge making mountain and hammer dulcimers. He's been constructing the stringed folk and country music instrument for 15 years.

The $375 hammer dulcimer features 81 strings which exert over 2,000 pounds of pressure its face. The 3 to 6 string, $135 mountain dulcimer is shaped like an hour glass. Demand was so high for dulcimers that Charles and Dave wrote a book on how to make them.

"I heard one and I thought it was a unique instrument," Charles said. "It's called a dulcimer because any dull person can learn to play it. I figured that was the instrument for me. People keep wanting them so I keep building them."

Note: This article appeared June 16, 1988. Charlie has now made well over 100 hammered dulcimers. Charlie had not yet written his book, "Hammer Dulcimers - How I Build the Things." Charlie has since moved his dulcimer making shop around the corner onto Railroad Street. It's 30 feet from the back door of the wood shop to the back door of the computer store. He has pretty much quit doing all other kinds of woodworking to concentrate on building hammered dulcimers. David has got himself the computer bug, and now plays with and sells computers in the building where the woodworking shop was then located.

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