PATTERSONVILLE — After 85 years in the same family, the lights will go out at a local landmark Friday.
Pattersonville Furniture Store is closing as owner Greg Welsh retires. There are no relatives nearby in a position to take over and there’s little chance of selling a small store with supply chain problems amid the pandemic.
“It’ll be missed, but it’s time to retire,” Welsh said.
Pat and Reba Stein started the store in 1936. Welsh — nephew of the Steins’ daughter Patty — started working there 43 years ago and took the store over in 1994.
“It was always a family business, we tried to take care of our customers, treat them as family,” he said.
Walking through Pattersonville Furniture, one gets the impression that the showrooms were attached one at a time over the years.
And that’s exactly what happened, Welsh said: The Steins started out small during the Great Depression, living upstairs in the original building along Route 5S. After they began to prosper, they built a house for themselves and converted the second floor of the shop to retail space. Horizontal expansions followed.
“Most of the additions were in the 1950s,” Welsh said.
In his tenure, Welsh hasn’t tried to stock the showroom with furniture in a particular style or look, but he’s steered away from cheap construction.
“Particle board is one thing, plywood is another, then there’s hardwood,” he said. “In general we always dealt with hardwoods, the solid woods.
“We tried to cover the waterfront — we had all different styles. Depending on what people were looking for through the years, sometimes we’re heavier in one design compared to another.”
Quality issues caused Welsh to shun overseas products early on, and the inventory remained American-made, even as “imported products have come a long way since I started.”
The store will close for good Friday evening, and after Welsh makes his last delivery, he’ll be done too.
At some point, he’ll need to liquidate the remaining pieces of furniture. He hasn’t decided if he’ll sell it as a wholesale lot or do a retail clearance, but his two trucks are also going on the market and he has no plans to do any more deliveries.
The silver lining to the supply chain problems is that he now doesn’t have too much unsold inventory to deal with.
“There’s bedrooms and dining rooms and living rooms, but there’s not a lot,” Welsh said.
“We haven’t been ordering anything because we can’t get anything on a consistent basis. Stuff that was ordered in February I’m just getting in in November or December.”
It’s a busy final week: The phone keeps ringing with people wishing him and his long-time employees well, or else asking for a list of what he’s got left rather than coming down to see it for themselves.
But the more Welsh sells now, the less he’ll have to clear out later.
“We’ve marked things down,” he said. “If people get interested we’ll cut them a deal.”
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