‘Extraordinarily blessed’ Kansas retailer closing after 41 years in business

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Family-owned retailer Furniture Warehouse here is going out of business after 41 years.

The retailer was founded in October 1983 by the late Jim Williams and his son, Steve, who still runs the brand. Over the years, Furniture Warehouse has grown to an 11,000-square-foot showroom and adjacent 10,000-square-foot distribution center.

“We were kind of like the little furniture store that could. It kept getting bigger, and we grew to where we are today,” Williams told Furniture Today. “We always prided ourselves in being family owned. My father and I started it together, and eventually my wife and I purchased all the remaining interest in the real estate and the business, and we took off from there.”

Williams said a little more than a decade ago, he began planning for his exit from the business, but succession wasn’t a possibility because his three sons found their calling elsewhere.

“I have three wonderful boys, and my wife and I offered them opportunities back in the day with an emphasis on ‘I want you to follow your passion,’” Williams said. “Before we knew it, one was a doctor in physical therapy, one was a pilot, and one was a welder. They’re following their passions as dad has encouraged, and as parents, we can’t be happier. It left me with a narrower succession plan, which is all good.”

To that end, Williams contracted with Hoyt Highfill & Associates to find a buyer for the building and to liquidate the more than $1 million in existing inventory from brands including Jackson Catnapper, Southern Motion, Fusion, New Classics, Elements, Serta and Corsicana, among others. He said the first few days of the planned 90-day sale, which began this month, have been encouraging, to which he credited Hoyt Highfill as well as his longtime sales manager “Sweet” Lou Mirabelli.

And when the sales are wrapped up, Williams said he wants to see more of the country and the world.

“My wife and I would like to do a little traveling. In 41 years, you get to meet a lot of people and share stories, and they tell you where they’re from,” he said. “I’ll go home and share with my wife at dinner that I met a great couple from the state of Washington and they said we’ve got to go to this place. My wife would tell me to add it to my bucket list, and our goal is to chip away at that list over the next year or so.”

And while going out of business is an ending, Williams said it’s an ending he’s getting to dictate.

“People come in with their heads hanging low and saying they’re sorry to hear we’re closing the business when, actually, I feel extraordinarily blessed because I get to go out of business on my own terms,” Williams said. “Our decision has nothing to do with the economy because business has been good for us, and my health has been very good. My wife and I want to go out and enjoy the fruits of our labor.”

See also:

  • Retirement looms large for 3 retailers, and each will close
  • Kansas retailer closing shop after nearly 8 decades

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