special.thesouthern.com The Southern Illinoisan (USPS 258-980) is published daily for $178 per year at 710 N. Illinois Ave., Carbondale, IL 62901. The Southern Illinoisan is owned by Lee Enterprises, Inc. of Davenport, Iowa.
• Bob Williams , publisher email@example.com
• To subscribe: Call 618-351-5000 from Carbondale, Murphysboro and DeSoto; 618-997-3356, option 2 from Williamson County; or 800-228-0429, option 2, between 6 a.m. and 5 p.m. weekdays, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. • To place a display ad: Call 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays, 618-529-5454, option 6; from Williamson County, 618997-3356; or toll free: 800-228-0429, option 6. • Editorial materials: Les O’Dell
Quality merchandise, great customer service right here at home It could be said that the difference between an empty shell and a home is furniture. The furnishings we choose to surround ourselves with, the pieces we select to comfort ourselves and the furniture we love having as part of our lives are more than tables and chairs, beds and cabinets, bookcases and sofas; they represent who we are and who we strive to be. For those looking to furnish homes of any type in Southern Illinois, choices are as broad-ranging as the styles of furniture from which to choose. Even when
Page 2 Friday, February 24, 2012 The Southern Illinoisan · Furniture
it comes to places to purchase home furnishings, area residents have many choices. “Customers have bigger selections and a bigger range of styles and colors to choose from in Southern Illinois than what they might even find in a big city,” said Sloan Brown, owner of E.R. Brown Furniture in West Frankfort. “Sure, there are nice stores in other areas, but here we have a better selection of everything, and we’re close to the people around us. Customers can drive just a
short distance and save money.” The diversity of style and options is due, in part, to the number and quality of furniture retailers and outlets in the region, Brown said. With long-tenured furniture stores throughout Southern Illinois, customers can be sure of both quality merchandise and great customer service. Both have been hallmarks of the region’s furniture businesses for nearly a century. “Throughout the area you will find quality stores,” Brown explained. “Some of
them have been serving Southern Illinois for several generations. Their anchors are deep, and they all strive to do the best they can to keep their customers happy.” From custom orders to delivery and from traditional styles to contemporary pieces, the furniture stores of Southern Illinois cover every need and every budget. Plus, with professional interior design assistance and plenty of good advice, the retailers never stop working to make Southern Illinois homes both beautiful and comfortable.
Furniture King Diversity, value and style under one roof Take only one step inside Furniture King, and you’ll think you’ve somehow been transformed to a much larger city. After all, you’re in the midst of 55,000 square feet of furniture. There’s a Broyhill Showcase Gallery and a La-Z-Boy Comfort Studio, as well as a Sealy Sleep Shop, with dozens of mattress sets on display. Yet, to get to this oneof-a-kind store, it wasn’t necessary to drive for hours and fight traffic. Conveniently located just east of Carbondale on Illinois 13, Furniture King has been serving and pleasing customers from all across Southern Illinois for more than 30 years. “What makes us different is that we have such a large selection of furniture under one roof,” said Diane Hood, store manager for Furniture King. “I think what surprises people is that by looking at the building from the outside, they don’t realize what we have on the inside,” she added. Furniture King has the area’s largest selection of La-Z-Boy sofas and recliners, and, as a Broyhill Showcase Gallery, the store features room after room of furniture set as it might be in a home, helping customers envision what their new home furnishings will look like in their own homes. As one of the area’s top locations for mattresses, Furniture King offers bedding from Campbell,
Stearns and Foster, Sealy and the popular Tempur Pedic Sleep system. Bedding experts assist customers find the perfect solution and the perfect night’s sleep. Throughout the store, high-quality sales professionals work with customers to meet their needs. “We pride ourselves that everyone in the building is very knowledgeable about our products,” Hood said. “Even our delivery personnel are able to answer questions about furniture or other products once they have set things up in the customer’s home. Our delivery staff is outstanding.” In fact, no delivery from the Furniture King is complete until every new piece of furniture is completely set up, in place and every question is answered. Once customers are happy, Furniture King even hauls off the old furniture that is being replaced. “We’re always striving for excellence, and customer satisfaction is every aspect of our business,” Hood said. Furniture King also strives to have furniture for every taste and budget. “We have a hugely diversified range of furniture,” she said. “There’s something for everyone here, from furnishings for your very first apartment to a starter home, all the way up to the
STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN
Furniture King’s Broyhill Showcase Gallery shows shoppers what a completely furnished room could look like.
perfect items for a luxury home.” She added that styles include traditional to that with very contemporary lines and fabrics. Speaking of fabrics, Furniture King offers a large selection of custom fabrics so customers can design their own furniture. “We have a lot of customers that do that, and they get exactly what they want,” she said. Those needing even more assistance with their home can take advantage of Furniture King’s inhome design service. Their professional designer calls upon her 20-plus years of experience to help with anything from picking accessories to go with a new bedroom set to designing an entire home. “All of our staff members are very friendly and know all of our products,” Hood said. “They are very glad to help.” She added that a large percentage of the furniture in the showrooms and
STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN
La-Z-boy has moved way beyond recliners, as this leather living room set shows.
galleries is in stock. “If we have it, you can have it today,” she said. The Furniture King’s commitment to customers extends outside of the store and beyond delivery, too. Owner Brad Weiss has been a fixture in the Carbondale community for many years, serving a number of civic, business and charitable organizations. Hood assists with the Women’s
Center, the Boys and Girls Club of Carbondale and is a member of the board of directors for the Carbondale Community High School Foundation. “We believe in helping people,” Hood explained. “We love being a part of the community and it is important for us to help out whenever there is a need.” Over the years the store has frequently made
donations for charitable events and has quietly donated many furniture items to the Women’s Center for it transitional housing program. “We don’t expect anything back for what we do,” she added. “They are all things that we believe in and feel strongly about. We’re dedicated to this community, and we’re here to stay. It’s the right thing to do.”
Furniture · The Southern Illinoisan Friday, February 24, 2012 Page 3
West Frankfort House Furnishings Co. Adapting for success in the business world — and succeeding Click and brick. That’s how Andy Brown, manager of West Frankfort House Furnishings Co., describes his store’s edge in the expanding business landscape. Back before box stores, malls and online shopping existed, stores like the one Brown manages depended on word of mouth and simple principles to succeed. “Historically, the downtowns were always the strong retail shopping outlets before the malls,” Brown said. “That’s where everybody wanted to be. Once the malls came around, that changed the buying habits. And now with online shopping, people have a lot of different options.” Rather than let national chains overtake small businesses, Brown said stores like his were forced to adapt. “The advantage we still have is click and brick,” he said. “People can do advanced shopping on the computer and actually come into the building to feel and experience the furniture for themselves. That’s the advantage we have, the full shopping experience.” Brown’s grandfather E.R. Brown opened West Frankfort House Furnishings in 1946 to satisfy a growing consumer demand for quality furniture. Brown joined the family venture full-time in 1974 after graduating from DePauw University in Indiana with a degree in business and economics. “I grew up working the stores in the summer and on breaks,” Brown said. “It
just kind of becomes part of your life after you see your father and family members involved for so long.” Brown was switched to another family-owned store — Chapman-Rollo in Murphysboro — in 1976. He returned to West Frankfort House Furnishings 13 years later and has engineered several expansions, including an addition in 1990. “Things seem to be getting busier all of the time, which is good,” Brown said. “I think the national and local recession aren’t completely finished, but things are letting up a lot and people are feeling better about their spending.” Brown learned many lessons from his father, Warren, who played a big role in establishing the current status of West Frankfort’s successful furniture industry. “We always learned that the customer comes first,” Brown said. “That included any service or anything as far as customer complaints. Things like a loose leg on a sofa, a squeaky spring on mattress or sofa or a loose zipper. Once that phone call is made, that wheel starts turning to take care of that customer.” Today, the commitment to service can be seen in what the store offers customers: convenient 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday hours; immediate delivery of in-stock items complete with haul-away of old furniture; and zero percent in-store financing for
12 months, and in the way the store works with the other furniture retailers in West Frankfort on the “Furniture Capital of Southern Illinois” marketing efforts — a campaign that has been hugely successful for 25 years. Another way Brown pays tribute to his predecessors is by honoring the history they left behind and appreciating the customers who keep the business open and growing. The store’s original cash register still sits atop the front counter of the store. “The things that we maintain and keep doing are what keep people coming back,” Brown said. “There’s a legacy of customer service and offering quality furniture at reasonable prices.” Finding the right furniture to show and sell in his store is a multifaceted process for Brown. “There’s obviously more and more emphasis on the Internet, but a lot of companies still have traveling salesman, which is good,” he said. “We still need a personal link between the dealer and the manufacturer. That personal touch is still very important.” He stressed that House of Furnishings carries familiar, quality brands of furniture including La-Z-Boy, England, Campbell Mattress, Vaughn-Bassett, Signature Design and Riverside among others. “Most of these are American manufacturers,” he said. “We’ve tried to stay with merchandise
Page 4 Friday, February 24, 2012 The Southern Illinoisan · Furniture
PAUL NEWTON / THE SOUTHERN
West Frankfort House Furnishings Co. in downtown West Frankfort features a huge showroom.
STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN
Andy Brown (left) runs the store. With him is his nephew, Matt Brown, one of two sons of Sloan Brown, who runs E. R. Brown Furniture Co.
made in the USA by American factory workers. We believe strongly in buying American-made products and so do many of our customers, who specifically ask for American-made furniture, as well.” Although some things will never change with Brown, he is certainly open to expanding his knowledge of furniture. “I’ve been doing this for 38 years and I’m still learning something new every week,” he said. He attends seminars
sponsored by the National Home Furnishings Association, and just like the other dealers in West Frankfort, Brown enjoys traveling to the international furniture conference in High Point, N.C. every year. The home furnishings market features more than 10 million square feet of show space and 2,000 exhibitors. “It’s just like the customer coming into our store, actually being able to see and feel the furniture,” Brown said.
“We get to network with dealers and if you can pick up one idea, it’s worthwhile. It’s all about helping the customers, making the business more efficient, and hopefully more profitable.” Brown is positive and optimistic about the future of Southern Illinois retail and his family business. His two nephews, Kyle and Matt Brown, have recently joined the business and represent the fourth generation of ownership and management.
Winter Sofa Event
what’s your style? Sofas starting at only $599*
12 Months FREE Financing Interest FREE through 2012
choose your frame & fabric,it’s easy & affordable As Little As
*See store for details. Limited selection of sofas and fabrics available at this price. Prices may vary with selected fabrics and sofas.
Furniture Capital of Southern Illinois
202 W. Main • Downtown West Frankfort 618-932-6710 Furniture · The Southern Illinoisan Friday, February 24, 2012 Page 5
Quality Cove Cabinetry is the finishing touch in your home A beautiful home interior goes beyond the living room, the bedrooms and dining rooms. To have a truly remarkable living space, careful attention has to be paid to the kitchen, as well as the bathrooms. That means beautiful quality cabinets and vanities from Quality Cove, just off Ava Road north of Muphysboro. Quality Cove owner Roger Twenhafel is no novice when it comes to providing great cabinets. For many years, he was proprietor of Apple City Cabinets at the same location. Today, along with designer Jane Boice, Quality Cove offers a wide range of cabinet styles and features, with outstanding customer service. “We have nine lines of cabinets, including three cherries, white finishes and the darks, which are very popular right now,” Twenhafel said. “Every cabinet you see on display is available in each finish.” All of the cabinets are quality solid-wood construction and include features such as soft-closing drawers and drawer bottoms made of half-inch plywood. Quality Cove offers a spacious 8,000-squarefoot showroom with dozens of bathroom vanities on display and a large number of sample kitchens. Twenhafel said the roominess of Quality Cove is a real plus for people shopping for cabinets. “Most kitchen showrooms tend to be crammed into a little space in a store,” he explained.
“Here, we realized that space is a good thing. It’s nice to let people walk around and look at the cabinets from a variety of angles and think about how they would look in their own homes.” Quality Cove also has on display hutches, perfect for a living room or office as well as bars for entertaining in a family room or “man cave.” “Cabinets aren’t just for kitchens anymore,” co-owner Terri Twenhafel said. To assist with customers’ homes, Quality Cove designer Jane Boice works with homeowners from start to finish for a one-of-a-kind custom kitchen or bathroom. “We use a state-of-theart designing program and work closely with our customers,” Roger said. “We ask people to just give us the rough estimates of their kitchen to get started, then we do the rest.” The software allows Boice to show customers and contractors a 3-D image of how their cabinets will look and fit into their homes. Once the design is complete, Quality Cove customers do not have to wait long for their new kitchen or bath. “We can get your whole kitchen ready for installation in as little as two weeks,” he explained. Quality Cove-designed cabinets can be found in homes throughout the region. In fact, the company was recently selected to provide cabinets for a new hotel in the area.
Twenhafel added that customers often come in with ideas based upon home improvement television shows. “We can make the things that people see on the home shows happen,” he said. “Most of what you see on those programs is about being able to take something and make more out of it than what you thought you could do. That’s what we’re about and we do it taking a very personal approach.” He added that just because ideas come from television does not mean they necessarily are budget-breaking. “The shows often make people think that kitchens are very expensive. Here, people are surprised with the price.” Twenhafel shared the story of a customer who was considering having their existing cabinets resurfaced and who had several estimates for the work. “However, we were able to rebuild their entire kitchen with new cabinets and countertops for less than it would have cost them just to have the old ones resurfaced,” he said. He said many of the oak cabinets available at Quality Cove are priced the same as the cabinets found in the back row of the large stores, but, he said, there is a huge difference in quality. “This is a very, very high-quality cabinet,” he said, adding that Quality Cove can offer many features as well, things like glass-front cabinet doors and designer hardware.
Page 6 Friday, February 24, 2012 The Southern Illinoisan · Furniture
PAUL NEWTON / THE SOUTHERN
Roger Twenhafel owns Quality Cove in Murphysboro with his wife, Terri.
PAUL NEWTON / THE SOUTHERN
A kitchen set on display inside Quality Cove in Murphysboro.
Quality Cove also offers countertops including cultured marble and granite. Twenhafel hopes to soon add plumbing
fixtures, such as faucets, to the list of items available to customers. “We try very hard to make everything personal
and worth the trip,” he added. “We do everything we can to do business with you.”
Furniture 路 The Southern Illinoisan Friday, February 24, 2012 Page 7
Distinctive Interiors A complete interior design studio, from flooring up Distinctive Interiors, just east of the Illinois Star Centre in Marion, is unlike any other store in Southern Illinois that sells furniture. That is no accident. In fact, it is by, well, design. Design, in fact, is a very important term at Distinctive Interiors. For the owners and staff of Distinctive Interiors, furniture is just part of the overall design process. “We’re a complete interior design studio, from flooring all the way up,” manager Curt Cox said. “We have flooring, we have furniture, we have lighting and accessories, as well.” In fact, from the moment you first walk in to Distinctive Interiors, you notice things are different. There’s a complete flooring shop, an area of window coverings with blinds, drapes, curtains and custom window treatments from Hunter-Douglas and other corporations. There’s also a gift shop just inside the door, with products ranging from gourmet food items to dinnerware and bath and body products as well as jewelry, handbags and novelty items. There’s even a Christmas tree, hanging upside down year-round, with Christopher Radko collector holiday ornaments. Then there are the home furnishings, featuring furniture and other products from Century, Henredon, Drexel Heritage, Ferguson Copeland, Hooker, Bernhardt, Clayton Marcus/Rowe and more.
All told, there’s 27,000 square feet of beautifully displayed furniture and accessories at Distinctive Interiors. Flooring specialists can assist customers with carpeting, tile and hardwood floors from nationally-known manufacturers including Karastan, Armstrong, Florida Tile and Nourison. Distinctive Interiors also offers wall coverings from Blonder, Waverly and others. No room is out of reach for Distinictive Interiors; they even offer state-of-the-art appliances from Bosch and Thermadore. And, since more and more living is taking place outdoors, customers will find outdoor furniture from Apaoli, Woodard and Gloster. The professionals at Distinctive Interiors consider everything about your home in working with you to achieve the perfect look. In fact, that was founder Wayland Sims’ goal when he began an interior design firm from his home in 1975. Today, the company believes in a “total design concept,” meaning assistance throughout the designing and decorating process. “We can come in and work with architects at the very beginning of designing your home,” Cox said, noting that this approach ensures giving clients exactly what they are looking for in their new home. “Of course, if you want to remodel a room or refurbish a room or even the whole house, we can help from the initial concept to the
STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN
Barb Jacobs, design and flooring consultant, stands in front of the Nourison carpet display at Distinctive Interiors.
explained. “Some have been here for more than 20 years, and everyone’s been here at least a year.” The longevity of the Distinctive Interiors staff not only provides them with insight and wisdom on furnishings and accessories, but it also allows the professionals to build long-term relationships with customers. When clients are able to work with the same designers time and again, the designers STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN understand the type of home environment the Jewelry by K & K Interior Designs is now featured in the gift customer desires, and the shop at Distinctive Interiors. results are fantastic. interior designers with finished product.” From wall and window years (if not decades of One thing that sets coverings to furnishings Distinctive Interiors apart experience) and hold and accessories, from other retailers in the professional interior Distinctive Interiors works region is that the company design license from the to make sure rooms are has never lost its focus on state. Others are interior welcoming and design consultants with interior design. As a comfortable, yet stunning. college degrees in interior Everyone at Distinctive matter of fact, the staff members and associates at design. Interiors believes your “They’re all very the store are not simply home should be a experienced salespeople, they are reflection of your professionals,” Cox professionals. Man are personality and lifestyle.
Page 8 Friday, February 24, 2012 The Southern Illinoisan · Furniture
Working with your tastes as well as your personal mementos and belongings paired with new recommendations, the designers can help add little touches that make a big difference. There is one other thing customers notice when they walk into the beautiful Distinctive Interiors showroom: the lack of the fast-talking, constantly-on-yourtail salespeople often encountered at normal furniture stores. “We certainly are not high-pressure,” Cox said. “We let our clients take their time and browse around. Of course, we will be happy to assist with anything they might need at any time.” Cox added that one of the goals of Distinctive Interiors is to make customers comfortable in the store — and at home.
Furniture 路 The Southern Illinoisan Friday, February 24, 2012 Page 9
Coleman-Rhoads Regional reach with small-town charm Coleman-Rhoads has outgrown the label “local business.” The company has delivered furniture pieces to customers in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Georgia, just to name a few states. “That’s not an everyday thing, but it does happen,”said co-owner Steve Rhoads. “It’s just harder and harder for the consumer to find the amount of furniture and the variety that we can give them here in West Frankfort.” Balancing the national attention that its extensive, user-friendly website provides with the small-town principles that have kept ColemanRhoads in business since 1973 is a giant task for owners Rhoads and Brent Coleman. And they wouldn’t have it any other way. “We are definitely a regional business,” Rhoads said. “Our legitimate, everyday business is anywhere within 100 miles of West Frankfort. We routinely cover the 16 southernmost counties in the state.” Rhoads credits loyal customers and a slew of savvy business decisions for the rapid development of Coleman-Rhoads, but says none were more important than the 13,000-square-foot expansion the store underwent in 1989. The dealers were approached by national manufacturer Thomasville Furniture about putting in a large
STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN
Brent Coleman and his wife, Paula, in one of the Kincaid display rooms at the store.
gallery of their pieces. They jumped at the chance. “When we did that addition, there were five stores going out of business in Southern Illinois,” Rhoads recalled. “Everybody probably thought we were a little bit nuts, but sometimes that is when you have to take that leap of faith.” Coleman-Rhoads has been able to balance that boldness to expand with the smarts of knowing when to scale things back. It’s an ever-changing process for small businesses, Rhoads says. “We’ve continued to change and evolve throughout the years,” Rhoads said. “It’s necessary to do that in the business world. The thing about furniture is that it is a major purchase that can be postponable sometimes. “It’s a window with a consumer. They don’t do
this every day. Our approach is customeroriented. Having a lot of different choices is a huge benefit to the consumers.” Coleman-Rhoads certainly offers its customers plenty of choices. Galleries and vignettes of a great variety of items are the selling point of this loaded showroom. Rhoads estimates his store sells upwards of 40 different vendors. In fact, the list of brands carried by the store reads like a who’s who of superior furniture manufacturers: Clayton Marcus, Hooker Furniture, Kincaid, Lane Home Furnishing, Pulaski, PeterRevington, Tempur-Pedic, Thomasville, Wesley Allen and the popular leather manufacturer Natuzzi. “One of the biggest changes in the last 10 years has been the growth of leather furniture,” he said. “We are a big leather dealer. We’ve got the large
Page 10 Friday, February 24, 2012 The Southern Illinoisan · Furniture
Natuzzi gallery that is about 4,000 square feet of nothing but leather furniture.” Coleman-Rhoads opened in 1973 under the original name Coleman’s Corner. Rhoads came on board in 1980 a few years after moving to West Frankfort from Bloomington-Normal. He quickly caught on to the trends that helped make the store a success, and tried to build upon them. “We have just always tried to help people with their experience,” Rhoads said. “There are times when a sofa may look good in the store and they may not be happy with how it looks when they get it home. You have to consider everything from the lamps, tables and other accessories. That’s where we can be helpful to them.” Assisting people comes natural to the staff at Coleman-Rhoads. “We really do offer a
STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN
Steve Rhoads, co-owner of Coleman-Rhoads Furniture.
higher level of service with our professional decorating and design staff,” Rhoads added. “They are great to help people not just buy furniture, but to really change the environment in their homes.” Rhoads called the sales and design staff at Coleman-Rhoads one of the store’s biggest assets. “I’m proud of our staff stability,” he said. “We don’t have a lot of turnover; we’re not churning salespeople through here all of the time. Our staff has been with us along time, they have lots of experience and do an incredible job. They are one of the reasons that we are successful and people like to come back time and again to do business with them.” Coleman-Rhoads helps its customers in other ways, too, especially if they are from West Frankfort. Whether
through sponsoring sports teams, or donating to special city projects, Coleman-Rhoads and the other three furniture dealers are usually willing to lend their names. “All of us are involved individually supporting local athletics and events,” Rhoads said. “As a group, I know we’ve been sponsors with high school sports. The park pool, we made a sizeable donation to get that going. Not to mention together we employ a lot of folks.” Rhoads’ favorite part of being in the furniture business is making a daily impact on peoples’ lives. “We’re dealing with consumers’ homes,” he said. “All of our homes are very important to us. The idea that we can help make that a better or more enjoyable place to spend time is the most enjoyable part. You’re improving the daily lives of people.”
Premier Furniture Lines Extraordinarily displayed Beautiful gallery format
300 E. Main Street in Downtown West Frankfort â€˘ 932-2128 www.colemanrhoads.com Furniture Âˇ The Southern Illinoisan Friday, February 24, 2012 Page 11
E.R. Brown Extraordinary history, exciting future History envelops anyone who walks in the tall glass doors at E.R. Brown Furniture Co. One look up offers a forever view of the original tin ceilings. A downward glance unveils the original oak hardwood floors. Owner Sloan Brown certainly embraces his store’s past. After all, it was his grandfather, E.R., who opened the doors in 1914, and his father, Warren, who originally tabbed West Frankfort “The Furniture Capital of Southern Illinois.” But his store’s future is what has Sloan most excited. His sons, Kyle and Matt, are following in the family footsteps. Kyle is a 2010 graduate from Southern Illinois University’s business college, while Matt is earning a master’s in accounting at SIU Carbondale. Kyle already works at the store fulltime. Matt works part-time on weekends. Both are passionate about carrying on the family tradition. “I obviously feel very fortunate because there are stores out there that have no one to turn it over to,” Sloan Brown said. “Here, I’ve got two guys. I know their grandfather and great-uncles and great-grandfather would be very happy, too.” Nearly 100 years after opening, E.R. Brown is still thriving. The store’s forward-thinking approaches and emphasis on its customers have kept furniture flying out the doors. “The 37 years I’ve been here, the past year was the best year we’ve ever had,”
Sloan Brown said. “This year, so far has gotten off to just as good as a start. Our special New Year’s Day events are always the springboards that launch us into a good start to the year.” The family has also opened a new specialization shop just two doors down the block from E.R. Brown. The Browns renovated a building that previously housed a realty company, and they now sell lift chairs and adjustable beds. “We probably have the largest selection of liftchairs in stock in the tri-state area,” Matt said. “If it wasn’t for (Kyle and Matt) there wouldn’t have been the new facility,” Sloan Brown said. “We even have more plans beyond that. That just shows you what young ideas can turn into.” Young ideas have been coming out of Kyle and Matt’s minds since they were both in high school. Kyle always knew he wanted to help run the family business, Matt didn’t decide until his freshman year of college. They both feel up to the challenge of keeping the business going. “We just have to keep doing the same things we’ve been doing,” Kyle said. “The fact that we’re going to be here for a long time to come sets us apart,” Matt Brown added. E.R. Brown helped guarantee a promising future for his family business by the way he helped customers through hard times, especially economic disasters like the
STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN
Opened in 1914, E.R. Brown Furniture is the oldest furniture store in West Frankfort. Store owner Sloan Brown will one day turn the business over to his two sons, Kyle (left) and Matt.
STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN
The store offers a wide selection of Laz-Z-Boy brand furniture.
Great Depression. “During the depression years and the coal mine strikes, people would write Mr. Brown,” Sloan Brown said. “They would thank him for allowing them to skip a payment or cut their payment down to a dollar a week just to get them through the hard times. So that’s certainly stuck with me.” Sloan Brown tries to duplicate his grandfather’s acts of kindness. “There are times when people run into hard times and we can work out an
Page 12 Friday, February 24, 2012 The Southern Illinoisan · Furniture
agreement with them to get them through those times,” he said. “That pays off not only to them, but it’s also paid off to their fathers and grandfathers and grandmothers through the years who have bought furniture from us. The same held true for them.” Sloan Brown credits his employees some who have been with the store for decades for helping create happy customers over the years. “Your store is only as successful as your employees make it,” he
says. “We’ve been fortunate enough to always have very good, committed, loyal employees.” Every task at E.R. Brown — from shoveling snow off the sidewalks to handling deliveries promptly and professionally — is completed with the goal of impressing and satisfying customers. “Southern Illinois through the years has not been quite as affected as the rest of the nation as far as economic problems,”
Sloan Brown said. “Our number one motto has been customer satisfaction not only during the sale but after the sale. I think that’s really gotten us through the hard times.” That kind of dedication will surely pay dividends in the future, as well. “All of us, we don’t just come in for the day, but for tomorrow, too,” he added. “We have plans for our business and that’s one of the most positive aspects of the store.”
THANK YOU! To Our Customers Who Have Made Four Generations of Being in Business Possible!
“I’ve seen a lot in 98 years! Two World Wars, a Great Depression and several coal mine strikes. But here I am, still cranking away! My boss’ motto of Old Fashioned Service and Quality Commitment hold true!”
Quality • Service • Customer Satisfaction “Since 1914” Store Hours: Mon-Sat 8am to 5pm FREE IN-STORE FINANCING!
401 E. Main West Frankfort 618-932-2012 www.erbrownfurniture.com Furniture · The Southern Illinoisan Friday, February 24, 2012 Page 13
Anderson’s Warehouse Furniture Great furniture, fabulous prices and shopping with friends Pittsburg, Ill., isn’t one of those places that garners a lot of attention. That is, except from people throughout Southern Illinois looking for outstanding service and great deals on furniture. For them, Anderson Warehouse Furniture, in the small community northeast of Marion, is at the center of their radar. “We know that we’re a ‘drive-to’ destination, not a ‘drive-by’ location,” said Lowell Anderson, secondgeneration owner of Anderson Warehouse Furniture. Anderson said the store’s location contributes not only to the great deals customers find there, but also to the friendly, family atmosphere. “Just the other day, I had a customer who had never been to our store before,” he recalled. “As she was leaving, she told us that it was her first time here, but that she really enjoyed it. She said it was because everyone in the store seemed to care that she was here.” Anderson said that is the way the family has been doing business for more than 40 years. “Whether you buy something or not, we want all of our customers to know that we genuinely care and appreciate your business,” he said. “We want you to feel like family when you leave. We really do want to get to know you and want you to get to know us.” It’s the same philosophy that Anderson’s father, Bill, started the store with in 1970. Back then, the
elder Anderson began selling a little bit of everything from a small building dubbed Anderson’s Warehouse. “Dad wasn’t intending to make it a furniture store; we sort of fell into it,” Anderson said. “Dad basically sold anything he could get his hands on. He’d buy a semi-truck load of something and offer it up for sale.” Anderson explained that merchandise could range from lawn chairs to swing sets, and once a truckload was sold, that merchandise was gone. Sometimes, items up for sale included swivel chairs, sofas and rockers, all of which proved very popular. People started asking for those items. Bill, who also worked full time as a traveling insurance salesman, found his side business began taking more and more of his time. In 1972, he transitioned into full time at the warehouse and began focusing on furniture. “People began wanting more and more, and the vendors began finding us as well,” Anderson remembers. He said the store came from humble beginnings. “Very humble,” he said. He remembers the early days well, starting his work at Anderson’s Warehouse Furniture at age 14. “I started out in the back room, unboxing items and picking up trash,” he said. “I was the low man on the totem pole.” As the owner, he is proud of the growth of the store and his own humble
have it your home later that day or the next day. Customers feel really good about that.” Anderson’s also offers special order service for items that they do not stock, but they stock a lot. At Anderson’s Warehouse Furniture, you’ll find rooms of recliners, a huge selection of mattresses including adjustable beds and the popular memory foam mattresses. There are many name-brand manufactures’ products as well, including La-Z-Boy, Pulaski, Riverside, Ashley, Spring Air and Simmons, all at affordable prices. “One of the interesting things about furniture is that we’ve not seen much of a price increase over the STEVE JAHNKE / THE SOUTHERN years,” Anderson said. A living room set from Anderson's Warehouse Furniture in Pittsburg. “Today, a leather sofa is less expensive than they were in 1980. Back then, Bill used to sell. “We have customers beginnings in it. you could get La-Z-Boy “Repeat business is very recliners for $299; they’re from all walks of life and “I’m not one of these good for us. Maybe that’s people who just came in to from river to river,” still $299 today.” because we’re good to Anderson said. run and owns it just Anderson said one thing repeat business,” Anderson he has noticed is that He said he enjoys because my father did,” he said. “I love that we get meeting each and every explained. “I know every furniture styles, like people whose one of them. operation of this store.” satisfied customers, keep grandmothers used to “I like meeting new He said the furniture coming back. Anderson’s people and giving people a come here. The only way business is the only life Warehouse Furniture has you get that is by taking good value for their he’s known. In fact, the all the latest styles and good care of customers.” dollars,” he said. “I know working at Anderson’s is patterns. One way of serving that money is hard to the only job he has ever “A lot of what might be come by, and that’s one of customers is offering held. called old styles seem to be convenient financing on “I wouldn’t change that the reasons we want to coming back in,” he purchases and delivery is for anything. I love what I take care of people.” explained. “Retro is hot always available — Many of the customers do,” he added. right now. I tell people that sometimes even same-day if they like a certain style who visit Anderson’s Today, Anderson’s Warehouse Furniture have delivery. Warehouse Furniture is or color, just hang on, it’ll “We do sell items right been there before. In fact, one of the area’s premier be back.” off of the sales floor,” some remember home furnishing stores, As will customers who purchasing furniture from Anderson explains. “We’re appreciate great furniture, with more than 20,000 not like the stores where the first generation of square feet of furniture, fabulous prices and you pick something out Andersons. Others tell bedding and home shopping with great accessories. Despite being stories about grandparents and then have to wait three people. weeks or more to get it. also making purchases at a “drive-to” location, “For us, it’s not about With us, you see it, touch Anderson’s. Some even customers come from all furniture. It’s about from those semi loads that it, love it, and then can throughout the region. making friends.”
Page 14 Friday, February 24, 2012 The Southern Illinoisan · Furniture
Queen Bedroom Sets Starting at $999
ANDERSON’S WAREHOUSE FURNITURE Excellent Selection of Furniture for the Whole House!
Includes Bed Frames, Headboard, Footboard, Dresser, Mirror and Chest
Adjustable Queen Mattresses Beds Starting at $399 2 Pc. Set as low as
La-Z-Boy T O H Recliners Y! U B $299 Furniture · The Southern Illinoisan Friday, February 24, 2012 Page 15
Page 16 Friday, February 24, 2012 The Southern Illinoisan 路 Furniture