Posted 3/22/16 (Tue)
By Cecile Wehrman
Don and Kay Garbel, owners of Garbel’s Furniture and Flooring, Crosby, are preparing to open a second furniture store in Kenmare’s West Side Stores.
“It’s kind of exciting,” said Don, but at the same time, a little overwhelming.
The Garbels are no strangers to bold business moves. When they were looking to purchase a business in 1995, they bought Crosby Self Serve -- and a year later, purchased a furniture store, running both businesses for a time.
Opening a second furniture store in the midst of a regional economic downturn may seem just as counter intuitive, but it actually makes a lot of sense, said Kay.
“Kenmare is a community a lot like Crosby. It’s a similar size -- a similar space. It just feels like a good fit,” she said.
The Kenmare Community Development Corporation (KCDC) more than a year ago approached a number of furniture retailers about occupying space in the west side project they own. According to Jamie Livingston, KCDC treasurer, another retailer ultimately moved into the space, but for a variety of reasons, the store closed a few months ago.
The Garbels recently learned the space was once again available and they began looking at a second store as a possibility.
“This time, the timing was right,” said Livingston.
Crosby will be undertaking a major Main Street renovation project this summer and access to the Crosby store may be hampered at times. This should free up some time to devote to the launch of the Kenmare store. Besides providing a second sales outlet, it will also provide more showroom space -- over 5,000 square feet.
Having already expanded their Crosby location in the only direction possible, “There’s nowhere to go except up. So this is maybe the next best thing and hopefully, that will be an advantage for patrons in both communities,” said Kay.
Though the couple still owns a lot in Crosby’s Southridge Acres for a possible warehouse, Kay said warehouse space is less of an issue now.
A second store will give the Garbels more flexibility in being able to shift stock from store to store and carry a wider variety of items between the two locations.
“It’s not that far,” said Kay, if people are interested in a complementary item in the Kenmare store or vice versa.
The Garbels are looking forward to setting up a store from scratch. When they purchased the former Mahrer furniture in Crosby, it came with the stock on hand at the time.
“We just little by little made it our own,” said Kay.
Several KCDC members were already familiar with Garbel’s Furniture, and those who later became acquainted were equally impressed with the operation, said Livingston.
Livingston describes the couple as being “of high character and community minded,” as well as very organized and savvy business people.
For their part, the Garbels said working with the Kenmare group was great.
“They’ve been very encouraging and supportive and helpful,” said Kay.
The Kenmare News last week reported on the city’s approval of a 5 percent interest buydown on an $80,000 note to assist the venture. Livingston said that investment will be easily recouped in the added sales tax the store generates.
Kay said they will be carrying all of the same product lines at the Kenmare store, with the exception of floor coverings.
Some of the main brands sold are Ashley, Simply Amish, Flexsteel, Best, Marshfield, Serta and Spring Air. A line of window treatments will also be offered.
Don and Kay plan to divide their time between the two stores. They also plan to hire a fulltime manager for the Kenmare store, along with two part time sales people. They are shooting for a June opening.
To start, said Kay, delivery personnel from Crosby will probably serve both stores, but eventually it’s likely Kenmare will have its own delivery staff.