Howerter’s Furniture celebrates the retirement of one of its own with a sale
First things first.
Howerter’s Furniture is not going of business.
Instead, the store’s staff is celebrating one of its own with a sale.
Vern, uncle to current store owners Dan and Gary Howerter, is retiring from the store founded and operated by Dan and Gary’s father Paul in 1948. Paul Howerter died in 2008. Paul’s brother Carl died the same year. Vern is the youngest brother.
“Everybody walks in an asks if we’re going out of business,” Dan Howerter said while seated in one of the recliner chairs for which the store is known.
Vern, a presence on the sales floor of the store, has been involved with the store off and on over the years, Howerter said. Vern may still stop by in his retirement.
Business has been steady since curb signs for the retirement sale appeared along local roads around Oct. 10, Howerter said.
Loyal customers, occasional shoppers and the curious have stopped in to the iconic Emmaus store at 416 N. Fifth St., the store’s only location.
Paul Howerter, Dan Howerter explained, started the business out of a garage, a location not far from the current store. The business has expanded three times, the most recent in 1966, and now features a 13,000 square foot showroom and two floors.
The upper showroom features an inventory of living room sets and bedroom suites. Mattresses, dining room sets and the recliner chair inventory fill the lower floor.
The store is a textbook definition of a family business. Paul and his brothers ran and worked in the business since its start in the mid-20th century. Dan and his brother Gary run it now. Dan and Gary’s mother lives within blocks of the store.
“I played hide and seek behind the recliners when I was a kid,” Howerter recalled.
Customers, however, are not relegated to Emmaus residents. The store attracts furniture shoppers from Coopersburg, Whitehall, Center Valley and New Jersey, Dan Howerter said. He once delivered a chair to Brooklyn, N.Y. The buyer, who was visiting family in the area, had been searching for such a chair.
The store staff is small, including Dan and Gary, a delivery person and a secretary. Special store hours are in place during the sale, including Sunday hours.
The sale is expected to continue through October.