Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

A Comfortable Transition: Tulsa Furniture Store Passes to Next Generation

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

A Comfortable Transition: Tulsa Furniture Store Passes to Next Generation

Article excerpt

One of Tulsa's landmark furniture families has officially passed into its third and fourth generations with the $1.6 million sale of North Carolina Furniture Mart to Kristi and Christopher Johnson.

Tulsa County Courthouse records indicate that C2K LLC of Bixby, led by the Johnsons, bought the 26,000-square-foot store at 12109 S. Memorial Dr. in Bixby from N.C.F.M. LLC, managed by Jeri L. Bomer.

That marks the last surviving store in a chain that once operated across three states. But the Johnsons see a great deal of opportunity for their 12-employee shop, which sits on 2.5 acres along one of south Tulsa's busiest retail corridors.

"The economy was bad for a while," said Christopher Johnson. "People were hanging on to their money. But we have seen a turn to the way up, so we're excited about it. The future's looking very promising for us."

Furniture marks one of the curious retail sectors where small shops actually thrive in the shadow of Wal-Mart, Sam's Club and Mathis Brothers. James Russell, chairman of the Oral Roberts University Undergraduate College of Business, said that could signal a different level of customer satisfaction and service. University of Oklahoma retail economist James Kenderdine also noted potential advantages in convenience and no-pressure sales.

But this family store has a history of taking on the big boys. The origin of North Carolina Furniture Mart dates back to the Horn Brothers Furniture store, a pioneering Tulsa television icon of the 1960s. M. Arthur Eichhorn, who went by "Ike Horn," pitched furniture from his 129th Street and Admiral store through the Horn Brothers Show, a country-and-western television show he hosted featuring local and traveling talent.

Such half-hour, locally produced shows proved much more common in the early age of TV, and often at the direction of furniture sellers. The Bob Mills and the Jude and Jody furniture stores produced similar programs in Oklahoma City at that time, mimicking national variety shows that often drew strong audiences. …

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