CALUMET - Pete Oikarinen grew up in the business of selling TVs.
His father, Leonard "Mr. Ski" Oikarinen, opened The TV Center on Oak Street in Calumet in 1955, installing roof-top antennas for customers in the four-county area.
When Pete took over in 1982, and they were no longer selling TVs, it was only appropriate he change the name. And so, The Antenna Center came to be.
Pete Oikarinen, right, owner of The Antenna Center in Calumet, stands beside Business Manager Mark Pavolich. The Antenna Center services customers in the four-county area, installing Dish Network and Direct TV satellite programming.
Located next to his brother's business, Cross Country Sports, in the original building his father opened The TV Center, Pete continues to service customers in Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga and Ontonagon counties, installing Direct TV and Dish Network satellite programming.
"We want to stress if you want local service, you must call us at The Antenna Center because if people call the 800 number or apply online for Direct TV or Dish Network, we don't get the referrals," Pete said. "They're assigned to a Green Bay or Chicago installation company."
What's nice about subscribing locally, Business Manager Mark Pavolich said, is when customers call back with questions about their satellite system, they speak to the same person who did the installation.
"We're here and we can respond," he said. "If a customer is having a problem, we'll try to service them over the phone and if that doesn't work, we'll send a truck. Either way, when they call, they're going to speak to somebody local."
Customers are guaranteed a thorough explanation of the program packages and pricing, Pete said, and there are no hidden costs.
"I know what that's like for people," he said. "We will explain everything in detail."
The installation process takes about three hours from start to finish and if customers are concerned about trees interrupting their satellite signal, the guys at The Antenna Center will drop by for a site check.
"If you think you can't get it because of trees, we will give a free site check to determine where a dish can or can't go," Pete said.
Through the start of the NFL football season, The Antenna Center is holding a drawing for a free high-definition TV. Anyone who orders and activates a new satellite system is automatically entered in the drawing.
Additionally, customers who subscribe with a two-year commitment. through either Direct TV or Dish Network, receive free satellite equipment and free installation.
"You can select from many different packages, starting at $19.99 for 120 channels," Pete said, adding there is no money down for qualified buyers. "Also, all the major networks from Marquette are now available."
New subscriptions also receive three free months of movie channels.
Mark said the high definition and the normal digital reception brought in by Direct TV and Dish Network far exceeds what's available to customers with local cable.
Pete agreed, adding "There is much more HD programming."
"We'll compare Dish Network and Direct TV prices with any cable system," he said. "We'll beat any cable prices."
Mark, who started working at The Antenna Center in April of 2005, after working for Direct TV out of Green Bay, Wis., said between himself, Pete and the two other installation guys, customers in the four-county area can expect fast and professional service.
"With our experience and length of service, there's no waiting," he said. "We want to stress that to our customers."
In addition to owning The Antenna Center, Pete is a published author and photographer and two of his books, "Armour" and "Island Folk" are available for purchase at his Calumet store.
The Antenna Center is located at 505 Oak St. in Calumet. Business hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.
For more information, call 337-5062.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by The Antenna Center of Calumet. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.