Hoover's Furniture & Interiors, which has sold home furnishings to Kentuckians for more than five decades, is closing its stores in Lexington and Hazard.
"It's a sad day, but it's time," said A.F. Dawahare, who took over the company after the death five years ago of his brother Herbert Hoover Dawahare.
He said the business depended on a robust housing market, and housing has been in a deep slump.
"The good thing is that we made money practically every year," he said. "This year, we weren't making any money, and I don't see that changing any time soon."
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He also said that Lexington, with several independent furniture stores, was a much more competitive market than Louisville.
The closing marks the loss of another Dawahare family business that most Kentuckians have grown up with.
(Two family members, Steven Dawahare and Joe Kawaja, opened Fan Outfitters, a collegiate merchandise store, in Tates Creek Centre last month.)
A.F. Dawahare's father, Serur Frank Dawahare, was an immigrant from Damascus who moved to Appalachia in 1907 and sold out of a peddler's pack in coal camps.
S.F. Dawahare and his wife, Selma, had eight sons and three daughters. The family eventually ran 31 Dawahare's clothing stores that stretched across the state, from Pikeville to Paducah. The last of the clothing stores closed last year.
The first Hoover's opened in Whitesburg in the 1940s, A.F. Dawahare said. The Hazard store came next, and the Lexington store followed about 30 years ago, he said.
The Whitesburg store had closed earlier.
Herbert Hoover Dawahare, who ran Hoover's for decades, also served for a dozen years as a state representative from Whitesburg.
A going-out-of-business sale will begin Friday. A.F. Dawahare said he expected it to last a month or so.
The Lexington store is at 1205 East New Circle Road. The Hazard store is at 439 High Street Circle.
A.F. Dawahare, 77, said he appreciated his long association with his customers and employees.
He said he was confident that his employees will do well.
"A good salesman will always get another job," he said.
The company owns the property where the stores sit.
"We've had some attractive offers for that property," he said. "If we get the right offer, we'll be selling it, but we're not in any hurry."
When signs went up at the Lexington store several weeks ago announcing a "consolidation sale," there were rumors that it was to become a Costco warehouse store. The location is only a quarter-mile from a similar Sam's Club store.
A.F. Dawahare said he heard those rumors a year ago. Some real estate people were talking about putting together such a deal, but the Dawahare family was not involved, he said.