Thursday, December 23, 2010
Merry Christmas: buy a chair
By ANNE KAZMIERCZAK
Most folks don’t go running out to the furniture store for Christmas presents, Gordon Ulrich noted.
“Sales are usually slow,” said the owner of Ulrich Furniture, a staple on the Iola square for the past 76 years.
The current economic downturn has things even slower, so Ulrich is offering incentives to those who might be thinking about a new chair or desk or bed or sofa to tuck under or beside that Christmas tree.
All recliners are half-price through the holiday. And any purchase, on any item, paid by cash, check or credit card is given a 10 percent discount.
“If you buy a chair that’s 50 percent off and pay by cash, check or credit card, you get 60 percent off,” Ulrich said.
For those who can’t swing that deal, the affable Ulrich offers an interest-free payment plan, possible because “We handle all our own financing,” he explained.
Ulrich mans the store with his son, Brek Ulrich, and employee Mike McRae.
Furniture has been the family business for most of the past century.
“My uncle started W.H. Wood furniture here in 1934,” Ulrich said. Before that, “he had a furniture store in LaHarpe for about 10 years.”
Ulrich’s father, Leland Ulrich, worked for his uncle in the Iola store. With his wife, Arlene, he purchased the venture in 1957. Ulrich began working at the store full-time in 1967, he said.
“When my dad started, you could furnish an entire house for $37.50,” Ulrich observed.
Although prices have increased since then, Ulrich offers a range of products to fit all budgets.
Probably the widest variety offered is in beds.
The store’s third floor has “thousands of beds,” said Ulrich. Maybe not that many, but certainly a wide selection awaits any shopper.
Pillow-top, no flip, extra firm, memory foam — Ulrich has them all. Full sets start at $299, Ulrich said.
Most of the manufacturers Ulrich stocks have also “been in business at least 75 years,” Ulrich noted. All stand by their warranties. Many are regional.
Ulrich noted that a bed may be the most important piece of furniture one owns. “You lie in it eight hours a day, seven days a week,” he said. Because a good night’s sleep can make or break your day, Ulrich said, “You should spend more to take care of your back.”
Other furniture purchases can be more subjective, he noted, as in whether a person prefers floral or leather couches, for example.
Still, even such things as recliners are now tailored to body type, he said. “Bucket seat recliners contour to your body,” he noted.
Petite recliners, a mere 27-inches wide, are for the smaller framed individual — or house. For the larger man or woman, Ulrich showed off a “Comfort King Big Man’s Chair” by Lane. The frame is steel with heavy duty coil springs, he said. The mechanism requires more torque to work. The chairs are designed for frames up to 6 foot 4 and 350 pounds, he said.
Also available are lift chairs in plush colors and fabrics; “motion furniture” — reclining sofas and sectionals; matching end and coffee tables; and new tables with built-in storage.
One cocktail table has a hidden desk top, that rises to reveal a storage compartment and that can be used as a desk top or lap table. An oak side table designed as a free-standing office has compartments that reveal electrical outlets, laptop storage and a file drawer.
There are even narrower, 18-inch sofa tables designed to fit between a pair of recliners.
Electric fireplaces can heat a 12 by 14 room for 8 cents an hour, Ulrich said, yet are cool to the touch.
As the oldest business on the Iola square, Ulrich Furniture has the experience and expertise to help you select the perfect piece of furniture for your holiday home.