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Raymour & Flanigan co-founder Bernard Goldberg dies

Had remained chairman of Top 100 furniture retailer

MANLIUS, N.Y. — Bernard Goldberg, who co-founded what would become Top 100 company Raymour & Flanigan in 1946, died Friday, Aug. 27, from complications related to Alzheimer's disease. He was 84.

Goldberg and his younger brother Arnold opened Raymour Furniture in late 1946 in downtown Syracuse, naming it after a Long Island antiques shop run by a third brother, since the Goldberg name was already taken in the market by relatives.

The two opened their second store in 1972 in Clay, N.Y. In 1990, the then seven-store Raymour acquired Flanigan's Furniture, which operated 14 stores in the Rochester and Buffalo, N.Y. areas.

Bernard Goldberg remained chairman of the retailer until his death, although he had not been active in the business in recent years, the company said. Today, it's led by his sons Neil Goldberg, president and CEO, and Steve Goldberg, executive vice president, and nephew Michael Goldberg, executive vice president.

The retailer has expanded aggressively in recent years and is now one of the largest U.S. furniture chains with 95 stores in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Delaware. It is No. 7 on Furniture/Today's Top 100 with estimated furniture, bedding and accessories sales last year of $942.6 million at 92 stores.

In a story in the Syracuse Post Standard, Neil Goldberg credited his father's business philosophy for the company's ability to grow successfully.

"My dad always believed that how you treat your employees is how they're going to treat their customers," he told the paper.

In addition to Neil, Steve and Michael Goldberg, survivors include Bernard Goldberg's wife, Norma; daughter Marti Rifkin; son Dr. Jerry Goldberg; 11 grandchildren, including grandson Seth Goldberg and granddaughter Shira Goldberg, who have joined Raymour & Flanigan in New York; and a great-grandson.

Memorial contributions may be made to Temple Adath Yeshurun, 450 Kimber Road, Syracuse, N.Y. 13224-1899.

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