SOURCE: Wallace Home Furnishings

May 01, 2008 10:30 ET

Wallace Home Furnishings Going out of Business: Family-Owned for 30 Years, Store to Liquidate Entire Inventory Beginning May 1

Wallace to Demonstrate Appreciation to the Community With Discounts up to 75% off at 1550 S. Koeller St. Location

OSHKOSH, WI--(Marketwire - May 1, 2008) - Wallace Home Furnishings, which has been serving customers for three decades and the last 20 years in Oshkosh, is going out of business and has begun the total liquidation of its inventory.

Wallace, founded in 1978, will remain open at its 20,000 square foot location at 1550 S. Koeller St. until all merchandise is sold. All manufacturers' warranties will remain in effect (except on items sold "as is"). In appreciation for the decades of support, the Wallace family will say "thank you" to the community by selling the remaining merchandise in its multi-million dollar inventory at price reductions of up to 75% off.

Unlike many other furniture retailers that recently have gone out of business, the increased competition from the big box stores was not the principal reason owners Mike and Cheryl Wallace decided to close their only location. The Wallaces even have survived high school age vandals that burned their warehouse and a flood which ruined their entire inventory. However, it was Cheryl's heart attack resulting from the very rare "symptomatic trauma" earlier this year that ultimately forced the decision to give up the business.

"In February, we were dealing with a sprinkler system pipe that froze and then broke, sending water into our building when it appeared to Cheryl that the roof was going to collapse on me and our son Tim. While the roof was waffling, Cheryl simultaneously suffered a devastating heart attack. She almost didn't make it," said Mike.

"We later learned that it was the symptomatic trauma of Cheryl envisioning us crushed that was the catalyst for the heart attack. Fortunately, the roof swirled and tilted, but didn't fall, Tim and I were not injured and Cheryl is recovering."

Mike, Cheryl, Tim and daughter Sheila all work in the family home furnishings business which employed 14 people at its peak.

"We thought we had been through it all -- with the fire in June of 2004, the flood, the burst pipe, the gyrations of the economy and the advent of the big box stores. Cheryl's health now is our primary concern," Mike added.

Cheryl, educated and experienced as an interior decorator, started Wallace Home Furnishings in Richland Center, Wi., in 1978. As that store grew, Mike sold his roofing business to join Cheryl in running Wallace. Together, they gave up the 3,000 square foot Richland Center location northwest of Madison, and moved to Oshkosh where they believed they would benefit from owning a store in a larger market.

Today, the Wallace showroom features merchandise from such manufacturers as England, Lane, Hickory Hill, Hooker, Stanley and Serta.

The Wallaces intend to make a graceful exit and reward customers with the chance to purchase items from the millions of dollars of quality inventory at greatly reduced prices.

"The sale will continue only as long as inventory remains. We hope that all customers will come in early to get the best selection before everything is gone," Wallace said.

"This really is an all American story," said Richard Glabman, a consultant to furniture retailers. "The Wallaces are salt of the earth people continually fighting against the odds. They fight back with hard work and determination.

"Seven days a week the Wallace family uses all of its energy to help the business grow. Then they have a devastating flood that damages all of the inventory. Instead of caving in, they decided to reinvest and rebuild," said Glabman

With the support of an SBA loan, the Wallaces moved from its first Oshkosh location at 300 S. Koeller to its current store in Menards Plaza They invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in store improvements, a new computer system and the latest inventory. Shortly after, the local youths burned their warehouse containing all of the Wallace inventory. The problem was compounded when Big Lots closed its store, leaving the majority of the shopping center vacant.

"It is very sad that we have to close," said Mike. "We have been through some very rough times and hoped we could continue."

Wallace's going-out-of-business total liquidation event is supported by Deere Park Associates, one of the leading consultants to the furniture industry. Deere Park Associates is based in Northbrook, Il.

"Deere Park Associates was clearly the best furniture consultant in terms of reliability, integrity, professionalism, resources, and proven success. It is very important for us to maintain the standards and reputation we've earned," said Wallace.

"We thank the community, too, for years of loyalty and support," Mike concluded.

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