Home Depot Associate Brings New Meaning to “Giving Back” at Vogue Theatre

MANISTEE, MICHIGAN – As the world’s largest home improvement retailer, “giving back” to communities is a core value of The Home Depot.

Fueled by the prospects of bringing a dormant community theatre back to life and his experience as a professional musician, Home Depot associate Tony Dziabuda may just be redefining what “giving back” means for the retailing giant.

The Home Depot store in Ludington, Michigan recently selected the restoration of the City of Manistee’s historic Vogue Theatre as a “Team Depot Project” where Home Depot associates volunteer to provide labor and other forms of support for worthy community projects.

“The restoration of the Vogue is just a great idea,” Dziabuda says. “As a Manistee resident, I thought it was a shame that this beautiful theatre was not up and running. In addition to being able to take in a show without leaving town, a restored Vogue can become a gathering place for people of all ages. It can also offer diverse programming and types of production so that everyone in a community benefits by making the restoration a reality.”

Dziabuda, who has worked for The Home Depot in Ludington for three years where he serves as a Freight Department Supervisor, jumped at the chance to join a “Team Depot Project” team that rolled up their sleeves with community members to clean out the Theatre, including seats, old equipment, fixtures and general debris.

“I was checking out a pile set aside for a Vogue Yard Sale when I spotted the name Western Electric,” Dziabuda said. “Being an audio buff, I knew that Western Electric developed the sound reproduction equipment for theatres, which is highly collectible among audiophiles, particularly in Asian and Pacific Rim countries. It turned out to be a driver, a component that creates sound energy in a speaker system. I mentioned to Vogue Volunteer Mary Russell that it may have value, perhaps ranging from $200 to $2,000.”

“Tony and I also talked about the possibility of finding the other driver too,” Russell said. “We wandered above the stage and almost immediately came across it. A little spooky, like it was meant to be.”

Dziabuda began his research at home.

“I put out an inquiry and had several responses that these were indeed collectible items,” he said. “I put it out on eBay and, sure enough, the bidding began. The short story is that the drivers sold to an individual in Japan for $13,211 and we quickly added that amount to the Vogue Restoration Fund at the Manistee County Community Foundation.”

Upon returning to the Vogue, Dziabuda came across another Western Electric product, a power supply used to drive the Theatre’s speakers.

“I set that aside with blue tape to designate that it should not be discarded,” Daizbuda said.   “I returned with help to carry it since it weighs about 200 pounds only to find that it had disappeared. That’s when we decided to do a dumpster dive and, low and behold, there it was, in the bottom of the Vogue’s trash dumpster. We hauled it out, I put that out on ebay too and we now have another $5,600 toward bringing the Theatre back to life!”

“Giving back is an important part of The Home Depot’s culture,” says Cathleen Richardson, Manager of the Ludington store. “We could not be more proud of Tony’s selfless contributions to the Vogue restoration, a truly great community project. From the financial contribution he took the initiative to generate to the ‘dumpster dive,’ he’s certainly setting a high bar that is exemplary for Home Depot and all of our great initiatives to give back to the communities we serve.”