Richardson Bros. leaving furniture business

Heath E. Combs, Wes Kennedy, April 23, 2007

Longtime case goods resource Richardson Bros. is getting out of the furniture business.

Customers were notified in a letter dated Feb. 5 that the company was ending its furniture efforts and would immediately vacate its High Point and Las Vegas showrooms, said Jim Richardson, president of the multi-generation family-owned business. Dealers were given a chance to order existing merchandise and did so over the ensuing weeks, he said.

"This liquidation in no way affects the rest of our businesses, which remain vital and profitable," he said. "That would include Richardson Building Products, Richardson Yacht Interiors, Richardsons Furniture Emporium and Richardsons Furniture Clearance Center."

The latter two businesses are stores here and in Sheboygan, Wis.

Richardson said furniture employees have been reassigned to other divisions and no one was laid off.

In 2003, the company closed its factory here, where it had manufactured for over 120 years, and became an importer of solid-wood dining and bedroom furniture.

In the Feb. 5 letter, the company said sales erosion over the past two years made it difficult for the company to support inventory expenses, which led to the decision to dissolve the furniture division.

"We had always positioned ourselves as a solid-wood resource, and as this category of furniture continued to shrink in importance, we were faced with the decision to either follow the current trend to repeatedly lower our prices — which would ultimately force us to leave the solid-wood arena — or to exit the market with our legacy intact," the letter said.

The company had furniture sources in China and Bolivia, and operated warehouses here and in Santa Fe Springs, Calif.

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