108-Year-Old Furniture Store Closing All Outlets

economic-crisis

All Dearden’s Furniture Stores Are Closing

Dearden’s, one of America’s oldest furniture stores, based in Southern California, is closing all of its stores and going out of business. The 108-year-old company will be closing all of its eight locations. This includes its flagship store in downtown Los Angeles, and its warehouse in Rancho Cucamonga.

In the process, the company will be laying off a total of 420 employees. The furniture company first opened its doors back in 1909. For over a century, it has sold furniture in various cities across Southern California (SoCal). The majority of the company’s customers have been from the low-income Latino communities in the SoCal area.

The company’s main product offerings have included furniture, electronics, home appliances, and related home goods. It also sold jewelry and perfumes, and provided services like travel planning, check cashing, and bill paying to its predominantly-Hispanic clientele. Dearden’s has also been exporting products to Mexico, Guatemala, and El Salvador.

Ronny Bensimon, Dearden’s CEO, has indicated that the decision to wind down operations was not taken overnight. The company’s troubles have been brewing for years. The CEO said that the company began losing business as its customers’ tastes—and the trends within the furniture industry—changed. (Source: Los Angeles Times, op cit.)

The company has been struggling to keep up in a fast-moving furniture retail industry that relies on the latest fashion trends to attract customers. At the same time, Dearden’s has also been facing stiff competition from the more affordable online shopping alternatives that are stealing away its middle-to-low-income clientele.

According to Bensimon, Dearden’s best year in terms of sales was 2006, after which the Great Recession killed its business, which then never recovered.

Prior to the recession, the company was not only spending on expansion, but also investing in its employees by awarding them scholarships to pursue career-building with the company. Over 800 such scholarships were granted by the company to promising employees, some of whom had worked for the company for decades.

Dearden’s store closings followed after e-commerce giant Amazon.com, Inc. announced earlier this year that it will be making an aggressive move into the furniture industry. (Source: Los Angeles Times, op cit.)

Sources:

“Dearden’s furniture stores to close after 108 years in Los Angeles area,” Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2017.

Dearden’s closing all eight stores in coming weeks,” The Orange County Register, June 1, 2017.

Dearden’s furniture store to close all 8 Southern California stores – taking with it 420 jobs,” Pasadena Star-News, June 1, 2017.

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