BY LEANN DILBECK –
Washburn’s Home Furnishings, a cornerstone retailer in downtown Mena for almost eight decades was recently purchased. New owners, Michael and Jessica Myers of Mena, said that the store’s founding principles, which can be attributed to the store’s growth and sustainability, will still very much be in practice.
Gar Eisele, who managed the store with his wife Debby (Washburn) Eisele, are proud that the Myers’ saw the value and reputation in the Washburn’s name, which is synonymous with quality and customer service, “Debby and I are pleased that Michael and Jessica chose to keep the Washburn’s name, our wonderful employees, and are continuing the tradition of customer service beginning with Omar Washburn in 1939. Obviously, we have a great deal of sentimental value in the store and are confident in the Myers’ ability to continue Mr. Washburn’s founding principles.”
“Mr. Washburn started the tradition of great customer service and an easy furniture buying experience back in 1939. Our plan is to continue that tradition with all the same friendly faces, same flexible financing, and the same friendly customer service,” said Jessica who jumped at the opportunity to purchase the store that she had long been a customer of.
“When the opportunity to buy the store arose, it was a very quick and easy ‘YES’ decision for us to make!” said an enthusiastic Jessica. “We have loved Washburn’s as a customer for many years and the opportunity to own the store was something we approached with great enthusiasm. We loved Washburn’s before we owned it. It only made sense for us to buy it.”
The Myers also felt compelled to keep the store with such a long-standing, impeccable history… local. “The store is not only a good investment for our family, it is very important to us that the store remain locally owned because it is an important part of the local economy.”
The Myers recognize that they have the proverbial “big shoes” to fill and are poised to continue what they recognize as being Washburn’s strongest competitive differential, customer service. “We plan to maintain the customer-friendly buying experience and the very popular in-store financing. Customers deserve to be taken care of and service is our top priority. If a customer chooses to do business with us, we owe it to them to take care of their needs to the greatest extent humanly possible – making people happy. That is what we want to do. Continuing the in-store financing for qualified buyers is also very important to us, it allows us to be able to take better care of our customers.”
Besides their reputable customer service, the Myers want to continue all that Washburn’s has offered product wise and looks forward to expanding those selections, as well. “We love Washburn’s and we love most everything that the store has been for all the years it has been in business. We do not plan on changing anything other than adding additional brands of appliances, bedding and adding to the product lineup in general.”
The appliance line-up will be the most immediate, “We do plan to really enhance the major appliance selection in the store. We will have an appliance ‘superstore’, offering almost all of the major appliance brands including the ever popular Maytag, Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Amana, Frigidaire and Speed Queen lines.”
Bedding will be expanding. “We are also bringing the Sealy mattresses to the store. We also plan to bring Tempurpedic bedding to the store as well.”
Jessica said the store receives new merchandise, literally, every day so there is always a reason to stop by. “I get new furniture every day!” said Jessica like a child on Christmas morning! “New products that I have ordered arrive in our receiving department every day. I absolutely love picking out product. I have always had a love for all things creative and I truly love interior design. Finding products for our store inventory to provide to the citizens of Polk County has to be my favorite thing about this new venture.”
Besides new appliances, furniture, and bedding, the only new faces will be that of Jessica’s and her daughter Allie. Jessica explained that there will be no staff changes. Washburn’s has always had the best of the best when it comes to employees and we plan to keep all the existing staff in place. If you stop by and see us, expect to see all the same smiling faces when you come in for a visit.” Jessica will be very involved in the day-to-day operations. Michael is a senior vice-president for Union Bankshares.
The Myers are both Mena natives and share 5 children and are very much looking forward to being entrepreneurs in their hometown. “We really want the store to be a one-stop-shop for all your bedding, furniture and appliance needs. We want the citizens of Mena and Polk County to be able to get whatever brand or product they want in our store.”
Jessica extends an invitation to all to come and experience the Washburn’s tradition, “Come pay us a visit and you will be glad that you did. If you are unhappy for any reason, call me personally, Jessica Myers. Our customers will be happy – that is my top personal priority – for my customers to be happy.”