Larrabee’s Furniture & Design in Littleton, Colorado, is closing as its owners retire this year.
LITTLETON, Colo. — When Larrabee’s Furniture & Design closes its doors for the final time later this year, its owners believe the impact they’ve made over the years will continue to be felt for years to come.
“What comes to mind first is that I would like people to think well of us and have good memories of their shopping experiences,” said Scott Larrabee, owner of the company. with his wife, Carolyn. “That’s what people tell me when they come in. We want to leave this business as classy as we’ve run it for 60 years.”
Scott and Carolyn Larrabee are retiring this year and closing the business. They launched an exit sale earlier this month and have given themselves until the end of 2022 to wrap things up, although Scott said he would like things to be over by the end of 2022. end of September.
“For Scott and I, we made the benchmark a year ago 50 years together. I like to say he has sawdust in his veins, and I partially have him in my veins because of that. It’s been a wonderful time in the industry. We know everyone in the industry,” said Carolyn Larrabee, followed by Scott noting that over the years he’s met everyone mentioned in the “Factory Man” book. by Beth Macy, except one.
Scott Larrabee followed in the footsteps of his father, a lifelong furniture retailer, and by the end of that era, two of his three adult children, Erin and Matt, were working in the family business. A third, Heather, is an outside industry marketing executive who has provided advertising and marketing advice to the family business over the years.
Larrabee’s started in Boulder in 1962 and eventually opened stores in Fort Collins and Greeley over the years. Over time, Fort Collins became the flagship before the family closed it and operated out of Littleton for the past decade. Even with the location change, the store, which was a former Beyond the Top 100 retailer, developed a loyal Coloradans customer base. This was seen in presales for Larrabee email members.
“We’ve really built quite a loyal following. Some of them came to us when we had our flagship site in Fort Collins 20 years ago and many are new to this geography,” said Erin Larrabee, the company’s executive vice president. “We’re up to nearly 14,000 people on our email list, and they get exclusive access to things before the public is notified. For the past 10 days, they’ve had exclusive access to see everything in front of the public. We achieved as much volume in five days as in the best month for the business.
Scott Larrabee added: “Every day has been Black Friday since we started. The first day was like three Black Fridays. It’s been an incredible success so far.
And while there’s been that kind of connection to the community, Scott Larrabee said relationships with current and former employees also matter a lot.
“One of the things I’m extremely proud of is that when we closed our store in Fort Collins, which had been open for 33 to 34 years, all of our employees found work immediately and half started their own. company. I’m so proud that every single one of them made it,” he said. “One of the benefits of working for a family business, especially if you’re open with your employees, is that they learn how to run a business. They learn accounting, sales and purchases. At the end of my career, if I could look back and be proud of anything, it would be at the top of my list.
“We’re competing with two of our former employees right now, and I’m glad they’re doing well in their business. We had to do something good to teach them a bit,” he continued.
So what’s the next step? “Most of the time my wife said we were going to hang out with our grandkids and go on trips. Our first trip takes our youngest granddaughter to Disneyland,” said Scott Larrabee. “We spoke to the children and had different thoughts. We are only closed three days a year, and it is difficult for us to take more time. Two weeks of vacation is gold. There are a few places we would like to see that would take three to four weeks to do or go to Arizona for the winter. These are all things we look forward to.
While Erin and Matt were instrumental in running the business when Scott suffered a health problem a few years ago, Erin said she was going to take some family time – she has a young daughter – before making his next move. She does not rule out a return to the furniture industry.
“I’m going to take a short break. It’s been 10 great years. I was lucky to have a daughter that I was told I couldn’t have. I feel like I want to focus on being his mother and seeing what surfaces. If opportunities come my way, I will see what happens,” she said.
“I want to get her into kindergarten and see what happens after. They approached me to take this for myself. Retail hours and the schedule are tricky with a little one at home. I had to make the right call for my family, but you never know once it gets old.