The Times West Virginian

Local News

June 16, 2014

Friendly Furniture Galleries: ‘End of an Era’

Will be closing its doors permanently after operating in Fairmont since 1978

FAIRMONT —  The large signs on the outside of Friendly Furniture Galleries Inc. in downtown Fairmont say it’s “The End of an Era,” which is true.

The store, which has been located at 205 Adams St. since 1978, will soon be closing its doors permanently.

Louis Spatafore, president of this family owned and operated corporation, said the decision was made on May 22. The business has to liquidate everything and is having a total sale, down to the fixtures and office equipment.

On June 7, the West Virginia Division of Labor granted Friendly Furniture Galleries a 30-day permit to run a going-out-of-business sale, with the option for a 30-day extension, he said. That means that by no later than Aug. 7, the store will be closed.

“It’s just not a viable location for a regional retail business,” Spatafore said. “It has to draw from a broad area, and the shopping patterns have changed. The customer is going to the super centers now to shop. So we’re not able to be successful in this location any longer.”

He said 2013 was a difficult year for Friendly Furniture, and then the extreme winter weather in January and February of this year was devastating to the business.

The store tried to hold a big promotion to make up for lost business during those months, but wasn’t able to recover.

The choice to shut down the store was very tough, but Spatafore knows it’s what must be done.

He remembers how when he was 7 years old, his father, Bill, woke him up on a Saturday morning and said, “You’re going to work with me today.” Spatafore has been with Friendly Furniture ever since.

He was attending summer school at Fairmont State in July of 1978 when his family secured the former Jones Department Store building in downtown Fairmont. He would go to his classes in the morning and to the new store location in the afternoon. The business opened there in October, and would have celebrated its 36th anniversary this year.

“It’s been my life,” Spatafore said.

Now, he’s preparing to continue using his many skills as his faces this change and adapts for the next phase of his life.

Since the announcement of the closing, a lot of long-time customers have been stopping by the location.

“They’re saddened to lose the store,” Spatafore said. “It’s really a blow to the community. It meant a lot to a lot of people. It affects a lot of people. ... It goes beyond our family.”

The building has also been used for storing items and accepting mail deliveries for several organizations and businesses, which means those entities will now have to find other locations for those purposes.

Spatafore assures customers that any special-order purchases that haven’t been received are forthcoming, and everyone will get what they ordered. Also, all warranties and fabric protection plans will be honored by the manufacturers, who will set up that service for customers.

The items for sale that remain in the store are still top-quality and include the same fine product lines that Friendly Furniture has always carried. Spatafore plans to donate a couple pieces of artwork in the store that are historic to the community.

Even though people will notice some new faces in the shop because extra workers are helping with traffic, the Spatafore family remains in control of the operations.

Spatafore stressed that while the business has had some other high-impact promotions over the last three years, the store never once implied that those were going-out-of-business sales and those promotions were all legitimate.

He continues to be optimistic about the business climate in downtown Fairmont, where new and existing businesses are seeing success and growth.

“I still think that there’s a lot of potential for downtown Fairmont,” he said. “I still think that retail businesses will prosper and survive. I think it’s going to be more boutique-type stores that you don’t find (in shopping plazas). Maybe some other retail-type establishment would work in this building.”

The Friendly Furniture building, which is five stories and 40,000 square feet, is more than 100 years old and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Spatafore said the structure could be developed into a multitude of purposes, from light retail to office space to residential.

“It’s not going to end up demolished — it’s too good of a structure for that,” he said. “We just need to find the right developer who can make the transition.”

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Fairmont man arrested on heroin charges

    A Fairmont man has been arrested on heroin charges.

    July 30, 2014

  • Ronald Mersky-EG.JPG Landfill safety taught at workshop

     Educators from around the state started a three-day workshop to learn more about recycling.
    The Marion County Recycling and Litter Control, and Project ALERT partnered with West Virginia University and NASA IV & V Facility to host “Marion County, West Virginia, Earth and Beyond” workshop.
    On Tuesday, educators learned more about recycling solid waste material properly.

    July 30, 2014 2 Photos

  • FirstEnergy ending retiree health care subsidies Dec. 31

    he end is drawing near for FirstEnergy Corp.’s health care subsidies for retirees.
    As of Jan. 1, 2015, FirstEnergy will no longer provide subsidized health care for retirees. Todd Meyers, spokesman for Mon Power, which is one of the utility companies under FirstEnergy, said this was a complex decision.
    “It’s a difficult thing, I know, but health care costs have skyrocketed in this country and many companies have had to unfortunately trim back on health care,” he said.

    July 30, 2014

  • Alecto plans changes for FGH

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need (CON) by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.
    In West Virginia, a CON is required of all health care providers before they add or expand health care services, exceed the capital expenditure threshold of $3,048,803, obtain medical equipment that is valued at $3,048,803 or developing or acquiring

    July 30, 2014

  • City wooding door -ts.jpg City needs ‘room to grow’

     Fairmont city officials and staff boarded a city bus Tuesday to take tours of three potential sites for a new Municipal Building Complex.
    One of the sites was the Huntington Bank on Adams Street downtown, followed by the City Center building (also known as the old Post Office) and the Masonic Temple on Jefferson Street. While the Huntington Bank building currently houses both Huntington Bank and additional tenants, the City Center building and the Masonic Temple are both currently vacant. The city currently owns the Masonic Temple; if chosen, the other two properties would need to be purchased from their present owners.

    July 30, 2014 9 Photos

  • Fairmont man sentenced for sexual assault, burglaries

    A Fairmont man will serve three to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting a juvenile and for nighttime burglaries.
    Matthew Allen Martin, 26, of Fairmont, entered a plea agreement with the state Tuesday. He pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl and two counts of burglary.

    July 30, 2014

  • FGH sales proceedings move forward

    Fairmont General Hospital’s sales proceedings are moving forward with the approval of Alecto Healthcare Services Fairmont LLC’s Certificate of Need by the West Virginia Healthcare Authority July 21.

    July 29, 2014

  • End near for FirstEnergy subsidies for retirees

    The end is drawing near for FirstEnergy Corp.’s health care subsidies for retirees.

    July 29, 2014

  • Chamber hosts adult education event

    The Marion County Chamber of Commerce helped local adults find new opportunities through its Beyond the Backyard adult education event Tuesday.

    July 29, 2014

  • Fairmont man pleads guilty to sexual assault, burglary

    A Fairmont man will serve three to 35 years in prison for sexually assaulting a juvenile and for nighttime burglaries.

    July 29, 2014

Featured Ads
TWV Video Highlights
NDN Editor's Picks
House Ads