Smith family celebrates 75th year of family furniture store in Huntington

Three generations of the Smith family attend the Smith Furniture Company’s 75th anniversary open house on Friday, Nov. 30. Pictured are (from left) Jordan Smith, Bob Smith and Ed Smith.
Three generations of the Smith family attend the Smith Furniture Company’s 75th anniversary open house on Friday, Nov. 30. Pictured are (from left) Jordan Smith, Bob Smith and Ed Smith. Photo by Rebecca Sandlin.

Four generations ago, Everett Smith started the Smith Furniture Store in downtown Huntington in 1943. Seventy-five years later his son Bob, grandson Ed and great-grandson Jordan are celebrating the eight decades of one-family ownership.

The store recently had an open house to observe the milestone, with three of the four generations in attendance to greet customers, many of whom have become friends over the years.

Bob Smith says his dad started the business as a used furniture store, largely due to the effects of World War II.
“In 1943 you couldn’t buy anything new,” he says. “They weren’t even producing furniture then.”

In 1948 Bob took the helm, switching to new furniture and adding Philco appliances, moving the store to its present location at 312 N. Jefferson St. He handed the management to his son, Ed Smith, in 1972. In 2011, the fourth generation Smith, Ed’s son Jordan Smith, became co-owner with his dad. Bob says he now fills the role of chief advisor.

“We go to lunch every Thursday and that’s where we get our good advice,” Jordan says, as Bob laughs.

Jordan, who started his career as a church youth minister then came back to the family business, says the biggest accomplishment that Smith Furniture has made in the past 75 years is its ownership.

“The support of Huntington has allowed us to be in our fourth generation of ownership and looking forward to, hopefully, the next 30 years, to get over 100 years,” he says. “That’s pretty rare to keep one family owning one business.”

In addition to its new furniture store on North Jefferson Street, Smith also has a bargain/used furniture store located a few short blocks away at 216 E. Franklin St. That location also boasts an in-house furniture repair department, which Jordan says is rare for a furniture store to have nowadays.

Jordan has three children he hopes will be up and coming in the store’s next generation.

“If they want it, they’re welcome; if they don’t want it they’re welcome not to have it,” he says, acknowledging his own path, which eventually led him back to his roots.

“I think it’s the best decision I ever made,” he adds.

Jordan says the store will likely take the next 75 years day by day, but there will likely be tweaks, such as future online shopping in its future.

“I hope to see Smith Furniture still here,” he says. “I’d like to see my kids take it over, if they’d want to. I’d love to see a fifth generation of ownership and continue to move it forward.”

But he adds that Smith offers hometown service and hospitality that he hopes never goes out of style, as well as being grounded in the Huntington community.

“It’s worked for 75 years; why fix it if it ain’t broke?” Jordan says. “This is where our kids go to school and this is where we live. We don’t live in Fort Wayne and own a store here. We live here and we’re invested here.

“… The biggest thing is, I want Huntington to know how much we appreciate their support for allowing us to furnish their homes and keeping us around for 75 years. When we have people come in and they say, ‘I bought all my furniture here,’ that just means the world.”