‘Continuation of the same legacy’: Evans Furniture Galleries opens in downtown Grass Valley
Evans Furniture Galleries is open for business at 161 Mill St., continuing a decades-long legacy of a family-owned furniture store occupying the downtown Grass Valley storefront which was most recently Ashley HomeStore, and Hedman Furniture before that.
Joining existing stores in Yuba City and Chico, this is the third location for Evans Furniture Galleries.
Locals who visit the new store in Grass Valley are likely to see some familiar faces.
According to Marc Evans, chief operating officer of Evans Furniture, the new furniture store hired all existing staff who wanted to stay.
Those staying on include sales manager Dave Wills, who has been with the furniture store for 35 years; Alan Keeny, a store employee of around five years; and Lisa West, whose family, the Petersons, operated the store for decades, including through its time under the Ashley HomeStore name.
“The thing I like is that … in a family shop, there is pride in what you do every day,” said Keeny. “So, it’s been fun knowing that … we’re now part of the Evans family.”
Keeny later added that the store has received positive feedback from customers since its change in ownership. Evans Furniture Galleries has developed variety within their inventory, said Keeny, and the new Grass Valley store is able to “reap the benefits of that instantaneously.”
During the store’s almost 15 years as Ashley HomeStore, said West, she tried until the end to inform people that, while the store was no longer Hedman Furniture, it continued to be owned and operated privately by a family — a fact she says is once again apparent after the store’s transition into Evans Furniture Galleries.
From answering the phone with a family name, to increased options for its inventory — within which the Ashley Furniture brand will still continue to be included — West said the transition has reminded her of being in the original store 15 years ago.
“All of a sudden, it feels familiar again,” said West. “It feels like it used to.”
On what customers can expect to see, West, who is a designer, said, “I’m enjoying getting to see some options, and I think customers will be pleasantly surprised by the freshness of it, by — as an artist I’m going to say — by the creativity.”
Harry Evans Swinney, chief executive officer of Evans Furniture Galleries, emphasized the importance of keeping people like Wills, Keeny, and West on board the business, saying that through their experience, they “really are the core of the store’s essence and personality.”
“My interest was to try and preserve that heritage, to preserve what the community sees in the store, and not disrupt it,” said Swinney, while explaining that the store had easily been incorporated into Evans Furniture Galleries’ existing product selection and service from its two warehouses.
A furniture business, said Swinney, cannot survive on one-time purchases, and instead relies on trust built up over generations, leading to repeat customers.
“It’s not a revolving door,” said Swinney. “We need to see that they come back and visit us again in the future.”
Evans and Swinney are cousins, and their grandfather founded the company in 1966.
Evans, who joined the company recently after retiring from a 22-year career in the U.S. Coast Guard, said he aimed to provide “total value” to the community through the store, hoping to make shopping local a financial benefit to customers in addition to the families operating the business.
“We just want to reaffirm with the whole community that our family is now here for them just like Hedman’s was and just like the Petersons have always been,” said Evans.
“It’s just a continuation of the same legacy, essentially.”
Victoria Penate is a staff writer for The Union. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Given the job loss associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, nonprofits’ social services were greatly impacted.