Image shows a woman and man in a furniture store
Kay and Don Garbel

Garbel’s will focus on flooring, not furniture

For Don and Kay Garbel, removing furniture from Garbel’s Furniture & Flooring is a logical first step toward retirement.

The Crosby, N.D., business they bought a quarter-century ago is holding a going-out-of-business sale at its two stores – there and in Kenmore. But “just the furniture part,” Kay Garbel said. “We are looking to get out of the furniture business.”

Not that they have anything against furniture. “It’s been absolutely fun, successful and rewarding – all of the above,” she said. They simply want to “scale back a little bit before we retire.” Continuing the flooring and window-treatment part of the business won’t be as stressful and could keep them busy for as long as another five years, Kay Garbel said.

She said that she and her husband haven’t implemented all the new strategies of engaging shoppers. They have tried to find a buyer for the furniture business who can usher in changes. “It needs to evolve a bit,” Kay Garbel said. “But that’s best left to someone younger, with more energy.” So far, that buyer has not emerged. But the door is still open.

Until they find a purchaser, the store in Kenmare will close. The Garbels will run their floor and window-treatment operations from their Crosby store. They would welcome someone to buy the furniture business and run it from part of their building or acquire the entire facility.

Coronavirus has had very little impact

The coronavirus pandemic didn’t have any impact on their decision, which they made months ago, Kay Garbel said. Fortunately, northern North Dakota has barely been touched. Garbel’s had plenty of inventory, allowing it to keep its staff employed and meet customers’ needs.

One problem was when Canada and the U.S. closed the nearby border, cutting off customers on the other side. “We had a really good following from our Canadian customers,” although those sales had slipped since an unfavorable exchange rate for Canadians eroded their purchasing power, Kay Garbel said.

Now, Garbel’s is holding “HUGE” sales until mid-October. The owners want to clear their furniture inventory before winter sets in and they have to deliver through snow or ice, said Kay, a native of Louisiana.

When she and Don do finally retire, they may move south – but not all the way.

“The farthest we’d go is South Dakota,” Kay said.

Garbel’s Furniture & Flooring is a member of the Home Furnishings Association. If you’re not, let us know you’re interested!

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