PFP to handle the sale event at Irvine’s Oldest Store!
For many decades, Witt Furniture has been a fixture at 214 Main Street, but those days are numbered. By now, most residents of Irvine have seen the signs on the store front windows announcing that the oldest store in Irvine is going out of business.
“We are fortunate to have been able to be here this long,” said Ashley Witt, manager of Witt Furniture since 2002. Selling furniture has been a way of life for several generations of his family. His grandfather, Roy E. Witt, was the original owner of the business and opened the store in 1937. His father, William Boyd Witt, operated it for the longest period of time—55 years.
Witt says there is a combination of reasons why the store is selling out. “Some of it’s the economy,” he said, “and some of it’s the cost of being in business.” “You just don’t see many stores in small towns that carry a lot of inventory,” said Witt. “Every small town in America is in the same shape—or most of them are.” He pointed out that most of the businesses remaining in downtown Irvine are service-related. “Buying habits have changed. Now people buy cell phones and computers, and they have to pay for the service plans to keep those going.” He says that these days, furniture and home décor typically get a smaller slice of the pie that is most consumers’ household budget. “I actually read somewhere that furniture is lower on the priority list than pets for a lot of people,” he said.
Witt has hired Planned Furniture Promotions to do the liquidation, a step that he says, “is how things are done these days.” “Everything in the store is discounted,” he said, “and we have plenty to choose from now.” The store carries a complete of home furnishings, including bedroom furniture and bedding, recliners, dining rooms suites, living room suites, even grandfather clocks. All accessories and pictures are 50 percent off. Witt says new customers to the store are often surprised to see how big the store is, especially if they take the elevator up to the second floor showroom.
As far as he knows, that elevator was the first one in Irvine. Witt recalls that it required a different type of electricity than was available in town at the time, so a special line had to be run across the river. During the liquidation process, Witt Furniture will be open seven days a week. The store is open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday, when it’s open from 12 to 5 p.m. “It’s because of our loyal customers that we’ve been able to stay in business this long,” Witt said, “and we appreciate all of them.”