The Furniture Fair History: Family and Giving Back
The year was 1963. Pete Rose was beginning his rookie season for the Reds. Cincinnati still had an NBA team called the Royals. And a man named Bob Daniels opened a humble furniture store at 3932 Dixie Highway in Erlanger, Kentucky. 56 years later, the Cincinnati Royals have long since gone, Pete Rose is retired, but Bob Daniels’ beloved Furniture Fair is still providing the Tri-State area with quality home furnishings at fair prices with exemplary service.
It would be easy to view the story of the Daniels family and their remarkable success through the classic American lens: a man starts a business, works hard, grows that business, works harder and eventually achieves his goal. And while this narrative does apply, the success of Bob Daniels has just as much to do with family and a tradition of giving back.
As Furniture Fair expanded to their second location in Fairfield, Ohio in 1972, Bob and his wife, Kate, were expanding their family. Bob and Kate raised sons Rick, Bill and Steve, to run Furniture Fair the same way their father did: with honesty, integrity and professionalism, or what the Daniels family calls the H.I.P. rule.
“We started working here in our teens,” Rick recalls. “When Dad retired in 1979, Steve and I took over the business and Bill joined as soon as he got out of college.” They weren’t the only family members to work the family business. Sister Jenny Wynne started Furniture Fair’s interior design services, while many of Bob and Kate’s grandchildren also work for the company. They’re currently on their 4th generation of family members involved with the business!
But the Daniels’ definition of family was never strictly nuclear. Ed Hartman, the affable Furniture Fair spokesperson known for his small stature and big personality, says, “I feel like I’ve been adopted by the Daniels family.”
Hartman has worked for Furniture Fair for over 25 years, and he’s not alone. Juda Yauger, Furniture Fair’s original bookkeeper since day one in 1963, is still with the company today, along with her daughter and granddaughter, who are one of many multi-generational families within the larger Furniture Fair family.
Assistant Marketing Director Craig Daniels believes this family approach to business is worth its weight in gold. “Loyalty, Hard Work, and Family… those are three great ways to explain why the Daniels family has been so successful. The three Daniels brothers have truly demonstrated to the rest of the family and company that dedication can cause a business to flourish.”
Sharing their success has always been part of the Daniels DNA. Every holiday season, 100 members of the extended family from all over the country gather at a local hall to celebrate with gifts and food. Their tradition includes the annual white elephant gift exchange, where presents can vary from a German beer stein to Ocho Cinco cereal to a USA onesie.
Another Furniture Fair holiday tradition: Ed Hartman takes any remaining “Eddie Bears” left over from their holiday charity drive benefitting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and gives them to children unlucky enough to have to spend the holidays in the hospital. “Every year it truly brings joy to the children’s faces when Ed walks in with a new Eddie Bear,” says Robbie Daniels, who has worked alongside Hartman for nearly 30 years.
The spirit of giving is something practiced year-round by the Furniture Fair family. By partnering with local charities, Furniture Fair uses the money raised from purchases at the their stores to feed needy families, provide furniture for the less fortunate, search for a cure for Cystic Fibrosis, aid in cancer research and help underprivileged kids get a chance to go to college.
“Family-owned businesses are important to the industry, no matter what (industry) it is. I think that’s propelled America,” says Hartman. “Furniture Fair is not something that’s just a name. The Daniels family started it. They’re here today and they’ll be there tomorrow.”
This holiday season, come in to any of the 11 Tri-State Furniture Fair locations around Cincinnati, Dayton and Louisville to see the difference a true family business has to offer. Or shop right from home at furniturefair.net.