Joe and Gladys are closing down Chapin Furniture next month.
But don’t fret.
The couple – known to Midlands’ radio listeners for nearly a decade for their quirky commercials that talk more about family than furniture – will reopen the store in the fall.
Formally known as Joe and Gladys Grimaud, the couple are building a new two-story home for Chapin Furniture at a prime location in Chapin, at Exit 91 along Interstate 26.
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The new store will bring Chapin its first escalator, Joe Grimaud boasted. But customers only will be able to go up. The store couldn’t afford a down escalator, he added. “Those things are expensive.”
But there will be stairs and an elevator for getting back to the store’s first floor.
The Grimauds have been selling furniture at 1150 Chapin Road in Chapin for nearly 15 years.
They started in 2001 with a high-end furniture store, called the Pineapple House, that Joe Grimaud calls the worst business decision he ever made. After the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, sales at the store tanked. So, Grimaud liquidated inventory, regrouped and reopened as Chapin Furniture, selling more moderately priced pieces.
“(We) had good growth until 2008,” he said. “2008 hit everybody.”
During the worst recession in a lifetime, sales dropped up to 20 percent at the store.
But, as the economic recovery gradually has found solid footing, sales have grown. “We’re about where we were when 2008 hit,” Grimaud said.
Last year, the Grimauds sold Chapin Furniture’s current site to a developer who will put a 45,000-square-foot Publix in the spot. That grocery will open next year, according to a Publix spokeswoman. The Publix-anchored shopping center also will have 12,000 square feet of other retail space and several out-parcels.
The Grimauds’ new store, at 660 Columbia Ave. in Chapin, will nearly double the size of their current showroom to 30,000 square feet. Meanwhile, they are having a liquidation sale of all their furniture and accessories. They have to be out of their current space by the end of March and don’t have a place to store it until construction is complete on their new building.
“We’ve got to make some deals,” Grimaud said, as he was making preparations for a Presidents Day weekend sale.
Customers can find some furniture at up to 50 percent off or more. Other accessories – including mirrors, lamps, pictures and “what-nots to sit around” – all are 20 percent off, he said.
And for those who love hearing from the Grimauds over the radio waves? They will keep up their ads while they await the completion of their new building.
“We don’t want people to forget us,” Joe Grimaud said.
Note to readers
This will be the business editor Kristy Eppley Rupon’s last installment of Shop Around as she prepares to move into a new role in private business. Thank you for reading over the years, and for all of your comments and news tips.