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Appliance Direct

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Appliance Direct is an appliance retailer based in central Florida. Founded in 1995, it operates a total of 9 locations.[1] The largest "scratch and dent" retailer in the United States. The company is also famous on the Internet in the form of memes, due to its low-budget commercials.


The founder of Appliance Direct, Sam Pak, emigrated from South Korea to the United States in 1973. Pak found work in the appliance industry at the Topline Appliance Superstore in Melbourne, Florida, which led him to eventually start his own business (originally called The Appliance Store). His wife, Eun Bee, assisted with the business, serving as the chief financial officer. In order to compete with larger, established retailers, Appliance Direct began selling damaged items, allowing it to establish a niche in the market. Following a deal with Whirlpool, the company achieved its current status as the largest scratch-and-dent seller in the country, with the caveat of selling exclusively Whirlpool products.[2]

The company attempted to expand throughout the 2000s. One major step of expansion occurred in 2009, when Appliance Direct purchased Rex Stores, a Midwest-based consumer electronics retailer.[3][4] Due to economic decline during the decade, this expansion was largely a failure, resulting in large losses for the company and an inability to adequately pay its delivery drivers.[5] Appliance Direct was eventually forced to downsize, ultimately filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2011 after closing multiple locations, down to just eight stores total, from a high point of over twenty stores.[6]

For his work with Appliance Direct, Pak was awarded Distinguished Alumnus status by Eastern Florida State College.[7]

In popular culture[edit]

The company's television commercials are famous in the central Florida area, due to their low-budget and authentic nature.[8] Sam Pak appears in nearly all of them, typically speaking lovingly about appliances, leading to his local celebrity status.[9] Because of the commercials, the Orlando Sentinel ranked Pak at #20 in their list of central Florida celebrities.[10]

Appliance Direct's commercials have also achieved significant attention through Internet memes, particularly due to a clip titled "I Love Refrigerators". Originally posted to YouTube by Pak himself in 2015, the clip features Pak, smiling, walking silently towards the camera beside a large row of refrigerators, before stating, "I love refrigerators!"[11] The clip has since been remixed and edited numerous times.[12] This has led to the phrase having its own page on Know Your Meme,[13] while stickers and clothing items with the phrase on them being available on multiple platforms.[14][15]


  1. "Appliance Direct | Appliance Direct | Melbourne, FL". Appliance Direct. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  2. Booker, Zoie (January 17, 2013). "Appliance Direct & Sam Pak - An American Entrepreneur". I4biz. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  3. "REX Stores Corp. |". Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  4. Wolf, Alan (February 2, 2009). "Appliance Direct Buying Out Rex Stores". TWICE. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  5. Gibb, Gordon (November 12, 2010). "Did Florida Appliance Retailer File Bankruptcy to Avoid Overtime Pay Judgment?". Lawyers and Settlements. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  6. Wolf, Alan (May 2, 2011). "Appliance Direct Files Chapter 11". TWICE. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  7. Glisch, John (May 8, 2019). "Sam Pak Honored as Distinguished Alumnus". Eastern Florida State College. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  8. Willis, Nicole (January 29, 2021). "Appliance Direct: An Advertising Investigation". American Advertising Federation Orlando.
  9. Marco, Meg (April 25, 2007). "Great Moments In Commercial History: Appliance Direct". Consumerist. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  10. "Ranking 51 Central Florida Celebrities". The Orlando Sentinel. September 20, 2014.
  11. Pak, Sam. (August 20, 2015). "Appliance Direct and Whirlpool"(video).
  12. (February 5, 2018). "I Love Refrigerators" (video).
  13. "I Love Refrigerators". Know Your Meme. May 2, 2018. Retrieved September 21, 2023.
  14. "I Love Refrigerators Gifts & Merchandise". RedBubble.
  15. "I love refrigerators Meme by lukaskin". TeePublic. Retrieved September 21, 2023.

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