The story of Larson’s Home Furnishings in Redwood Falls actually begins in 1889, when Lars Larson emigrated to the United States from Norway.
“My great-grandfather became a homesteader near Mobridge, South Dakota, after 20 years on the farm,” said Scott Larson, current owner of the firm.
“He both sold furniture, and was an undertaker who could conduct funerals in both Norwegian and English. His buckboard could convert from hauling furniture into a hearse.”
“Many people wonder why furniture and funeral businesses often went hand-in-hand.
“Until quite recently, it was a logical combination. The companies that manufactured furniture also manufactured caskets. The horses and wagons used to deliver furniture could also be used for funerals.”
Lars had many sons, some of whom went into the family business. In 1939, Lars’ son Edwin Sr. moved to Kenyon, Minnesota because of an overabundance of Larson brothers the local furniture and mortuary trades.
After World War II, Edwin’s son—Edwin Jr.—moved on to Redwood Falls, and opened a furniture store in a brand new facility on Mill St. Scott, the current owner, joined his father in the business in 1974.
“We’re one of the few remaining stores in town that’s fourth generation,” Scott said last week.
When a connected store moved across the street, the Larsons took the opportunity to expand their furniture store to fill the entire 24,000 square foot facility, both upstairs and full basement. Another 6,000 sq. feet was added to the west in 1996.
“We do remote warehousing so we can use this whole building as our showroom,” Scott said.
The firm’s motto, “Feather your nest with a little down,” was borrowed from a furniture store in South Dakota.
“After he came home from World War II, my father was a traveling salesman,” said Scott. “When he saw the slogan on a store, the owner said, ‘You can have it.’”
The motto is a pun, with the word “feather” meaning “to furnish”, “nest” meaning your home, and “a little down” meaning paying a small down payment.
“It’s a nice little slogan for us,” said Larson.
Today, Larson’s Home Furnishings employs about a dozen people, and includes another branch in Marshall. The store also sells floor coverings, and has free local delivery.
Although Larson’s features departments for every room in the house, Scott said the most demand is for “upholstery,” meaning furnishings that make use of fabric or leather.
Any furniture store has to take into account trends and fashions.
“We’re a ‘fashion and function’ industry,” said Larson. “A home furnishing’s features must translate into customer benefits at pricing that’s a value.
“We still have fun every day, and we appreciate our employees and customers, many of whom have become friends. This is a great region to have a small business.”
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