West Harvard Furniture: grows with family – NRToday.com
A few decades ago, Larry Garzenelli moved from Southern California to Roseburg to retire.
After eight years of down time, Garzenelli had enough of retirement. He wanted another challenge. So he opted for the furniture business, even though he had no experience in the field.
Twenty-eight years later, heâs still pleased with his decision.
Garzenelli and business partner Brent Long opened West Harvard Furniture in Roseburg in 1988.
âIt was a great business opportunity,â said Garzenelli. âI had been in sales, I had run a business. Furniture is a business, so why not?â
Nine years after the partners acquired the Harvard store, Garzenelli bought out Long, and he and his family have been the sole owners since. Garzenelliâs wife, Jane, worked at the store for 20 years until retiring eight years ago.
Their grown children gradually joined the business after working in other fields. Daughter Karen Kohlman has been with West Harvard for 15 years, and sons Larry and Matt came on board 11 years ago. Kohlmanâs son, Tyler, also became a full-time employee 11 years ago. When they were younger, Larry, Matt and Tyler all got their initial experience at West Harvard Furniture working part time in its warehouse and delivery service.
When Tylerâs daughter, 5-year-old Kooper, makes one of her frequent visits to the store, there are four generations involved with the business.
The family pointed out that West Harvard Furniture has been voted the No. 1 furniture store in Douglas County for the past 16 News-Review Readersâ Choice Awards.
West Harvard has been successful enough that itâs expanded to include a mattress section at its Harvard location and has also opened three The Mattress Company stores â one in Eugene, one in Springfield and one in north Roseburg. Sons Larry and Matt manage the Eugene and Springfield stores, and Tyler manages the Roseburg store.
âWeâve kind of had continued growth through the last 28 years,â Garzenelli said. âEven though some times have been bad, theyâve provided some good opportunities. A lot of companies are no longer in business after the last several years and weâve been able to open some brand new stores.â
Garzenelli began his business career in San Diego, owning and managing real estate, escrow and title companies and a printing company with his brother, John Stenbeck. They sold the businesses in 1982, and Larry Garzenelli moved his family to Roseburg.
He said he and his family have been happy with the move and believe the business has a bright future.
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