After close to 50 years in the area, one of the area’s largest furniture and carpeting stores is closing its doors.
Within months, Furniture World Carpet One will close both its Indiana and Kittanning stores, according to Andrea Solomon-Eller, president and co-owner.
She said the decision came late in the summer, after the lease at the Kittanning location was up.
“That was the first impetus,” she said. “Everything was considered. With the economic climate and things, we just ended up thinking it was better to just close the business.”
The final day of business depends on how sales go and other factors, but Solomon-Eller said the stores will be closed by the end of the year.
Merchandise has already been marked down at the Indiana location in the Indiana West Plaza off Philadelphia Street. Everything will be on sale this weekend, she said. Items are discounted up to 60 percent. Solomon-Eller couldn’t say whether they would be marked down further.
Sales include in-stock merchandise.
Customers are encouraged to take care of hauling away purchases if they can.
“It’s going to be hard to keep up with all the deliveries,” she said.
“We’re hoping people will pick it up themselves.”
Solomon-Eller said she hopes to sublet the 48,000-square-foot Indiana location, either as a whole or in parts.
Though she couldn’t provide details, she said the other store — along Route 422 outside of Kittanning — has a potential buyer. That location, she estimates, is just a little smaller than the Indiana one, but it includes the Furniture World Carpet One warehouses.
Together, the business employs about 45 people, with 15 staff in Indiana and about twice that in Kittanning, which serves as not only the warehouse but the center of delivery and business operations.
Solomon-Eller grew up with the store, which her family started 53 years ago with a tile business in Ford City called Mr. Tile. She said she remembers her mother picking up supplies in a station wagon and driving them to the store.
“You know, you start small and you build it up,” she said.
Building up meant moving to carpet sales based on the needs of customers and adding furniture sales.
In the mid-1960s, Solomon-Eller’s parents, Sanford and Maxine Cooperman, opened an Indiana location and moved from Monroeville to the borough.
“He was just opening a store there and said, ‘this is such a nice place to be,’” she said. “It was exciting to move to a little town from the suburbs.
“My father just loved, loved, loved Indiana.”
Solomon-Eller, a Pittsburgh resident, went to junior high and high school in Indiana. She began working with the family business full time nearly 20 years ago.
“It’s sad,” she said of the closing. “We’ve been in business for 53 years. It’s very sad.”
“We just wrote a letter to our customers saying that we were going to be closing and, you know, they came in droves. It was nice to see everybody.”
The business, which sells flooring, mattresses, home decor and furniture, has belonged to co-ops and buyers groups so that merchandise could be purchased at lower prices with savings passed on to shoppers.
That desire to offer value comes from a genuine place, according to Solomon-Ellers.
“One of the things we really do is care about our customers. We have a more personal relationship with everybody and we try to meet their needs.”
She and others at the furniture store are thankful for the support and loyalty they’ve received from customers over the years.
“It’s been great being in the community, and we’ll miss it,” she said.