Fifth-generation furniture seller celebrates retirement – Victoria Advocate
Selling furniture is in Ken Stimson’s blood, but after 41 years in the business, he said it’s time to leave the industry.
“Dealing with people and working with people and growing the business, that was the fun part,” Stimson said.
Stimson is retiring from Ashley Furniture HomeStore, which is a successor to the Stimson Furniture stores that were located throughout the region. The Victoria store, located on North Navarro Street, had a 41 percent off sale to honor his career this weekend.
Stimson’s family started selling furniture in 1922 out of an all-purpose shop in Kenedy, according to Stimson’s daughter, Paige Streiff. He’s the fourth generation of furniture retailers in his family.
“When I went to do my undergraduate work, I thought I might want to do something other than furniture,” Stimson said. “It seems like God will direct you in certain ways. I got a job in a furniture store while I attended college, and I got the bug and I thought, ‘Gee, this is what I want to do.'”
After graduating, Stimson joined the family-owned stores, which he helped expand from four locations to seven, he said.
Adela Davila, who has worked with the Stimson family since 1974, said she is treated like a part of the family. She said Stimson has always been considerate of the people he works with.
“He would always look out for his employees, always try to treat the employees fairly,” Davila said. “He worked alongside the employees to work with them, help them.”
In 2005, the Stimson furniture stores in Victoria and Yoakum were converted to Ashley Furniture Stores and the other locations were sold, he said. While it was a hard decision to make, it helped the company to better serve customers, Stimson said.
“Our industry changed – speed in distribution, speed in acquiring information, management tools,” Stimson said. “All that we did not have access to were suddenly available through Ashley.”
Helping people create refreshing environments in their homes is a joy, Stimson said.
Streiff, who owns the Ashley Furniture Store in Corpus Christi with her husband, said her father left a lasting impression on customers.
“I still get a lot of people who come in the store and say, ‘Is Mr. Stimson here? I remember buying my bedroom furniture from Stimson furniture 10 years ago’ or whatever it was,” Streiff said.
His daughter and son-in-law are good stewards of the family furniture-selling legacy, Stimson said.
Now that he’s retired, he is excited to spend time with his wife going to places like Israel and the Mediterranean.
He said he was looking forward to “being able to enjoy the grandchildren more and travel and just finding out whatever else God has in store for us. I’m sure there will be something, and I’m sure it’ll be fun.”