HERMISTON -- Wilcox Furniture will close its doors this summer after 61 years in business.
The company that grew from one Hermiston store to five in Umatilla County announced the upcoming closure of its stores Friday.
John Wilcox, the company's president for almost 40 years, and his brothers Alan and Bruce said in a news release that although closing was a difficult decision, it was time to explore something other than the furniture business.
Although the stores in Hermiston, Pendleton and Milton-Freewater will liquidate their inventory, the buildings won't remain vacant for long. A Pacific Northwest furniture retailer will take over all five stores soon after Wilcox Furniture finishes its going-out-of-business sale, John Wilcox said in a news release.
"All of our buildings must be completely emptied down to the bare walls before the new company takes over," he stated. "Shoppers can expect extraordinary savings during the $2.5 million inventory sell-off."
John Wilcox joined his parents Les and Joyce Wilcox in the business in 1973 when there was just one store in Hermiston with eight employees. His parents had taken over operation of the store in 1959 after buying it from Charles Wilcox, who started the business in 1951.
Alan Wilcox recalled working part time in the furniture store on Saturdays when he was in elementary school. "That was back when we sold products like electric can openers, coffee pots and toasters, in addition to furniture, appliances and TVs," he stated.
The company employs 70 people in its five locations. About a third of the employees have been with the company for at least a decade. Bruce Wilcox stated in the news release that most of the employees will have job opportunities with the company taking over the Wilcox Furniture locations.
"We are grateful for having the opportunity to serve the people of Eastern Oregon and Southeast Washington for all of these many years," John Wilcox stated in the news release. "I want to thank all of our customers and friends for their loyalty and support."