20150109 134142“Mom and Pop” furniture retailer sells only American-made goods

Burns Furniture, tucked away in western Clark County, quietly celebrates its 50th year in business this month.  Operated by father-and-son team Jim and Bob Burns, the self-described “Mom and Pop” furniture retailer sells only American-made goods, with Jim Burns priding himself on the quality of his selection—saying his philosophy is to spend a little extra money so “you’ll only have to buy something once.”

Adhering to that philosophy, Burns said he has a customer from Donnelsville who recently told him that she still had the same sofa she purchased from him 32 years ago.  “That just goes to show you that if you take care of this stuff, your kids are going to be able to use it, and so are their kids,” Burns said.

Burns said he originally used the building as an auction house in January of 1965.  Along with his wife, Jo Anne, Burns then transitioned to selling used furniture before making the switch to selling new furniture, as he continues to do in the Medway store.  Burns, 83, grew up just next door to the current store, saying his family moved here from Virginia in the 1850s and established a two-square-mile homestead in the Crystal Lakes area.  “I’ve got the last of the homestead here,” said Burns of his property on Lake Road.

Burns Furniture offers a variety of furniture needs including couches, loveseats, coffee tables, and dressers, as well as mattresses and bedding materials.  Burns said he also does a lot of special orders.  Currently, the store has Amish-made dining room tables and bedframes.  Burns said the Amish goods are of superb quality, and that they are made on Ohio’s Holmes County.

Jim Burns said he keeps his store tidy yet simple, so that he does not have to pass on the price of extravagant new remodelings or other un-needed expenses to his customers.  

“It’s nothing fancy in here,” Burns said. “The furnishings in my customers’ homes are more important to me than buying better things for the store,” said Burns.

A lifelong resident of the area, Burns said he was born in New Carlisle and has “never been out of sight of Bethel Township” in all his life.  He met his wife Jo Anne at Olive Branch, back when it was the high school.  The two graduated in 1949, and were married for 56 years when Jo Anne passed away.  Burns said he stood by his wife’s side and took care of her as she suffered from Alzheimer’s before her death.  The couple’s youngest son Bob assists his father in running the store, and the two of them run the store on their own.

Burns said he does not have a computer nor does he know how to work one, but proudly encouraged customers to visit the store’s website, which offers possible free delivery when a printed copy of the site is brought to the store.

Burns said his commitment to quality has not changed in 50 years, though the world around him has wavered greatly.  In 1965, when the Burns family was establishing their roots as a longstanding business in Bethel Township, a loaf of bread cost 21 cents, and the average monthly rent payment in American homes was $118.  

Burns Furniture, located at 1880 Lake Road, is open Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 5pm, and on Saturdays from 9am to 4pm.  Call 849-1754 or visit burnsfurnitureohio.com for more information.

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