Furnishing a Legacy
The two brothers were a "good blend" from the beginning Bob says, because Jack studied business in college and Bob studied art and design. In the late 1950s, the brothers helped expand the furniture side and added flooring to the mix. They discontinued hardware sales by the late 1960s, and soon after, Jack and Bob began managing the store--and started a long series of payments to their uncle and father that culminated in ownership. Jack, Bob, and Tim all fondly recall "Uncle Norb" staying on to help with the furniture end of the business--working in receiving and on the loading dock--as well as Ferd dropping by the store to visit.
With some well-placed advertising, business boomed and "became elliptical," Jack says, stretching west to Jackson, east to Ann Arbor and beyond. "We'd hired an ad agency and ran some classy ads," Bob says. "We learned that you need to have a product for a price. That's how we wedged our way in. There was a lot of competition, and our ads stood out."
"Bob took it to a whole different level," Jack says. "He elevated people's awareness of good design." Meantime, Jack worked hard on the business end. "My goal was to make the company run more efficiently," Jack explains. "We had a business model before we ever heard the term."