Business

Merit Furniture, in business since 1956, closing. Owner: ‘Nobody wants quality furniture.’

Merit Furniture store at 764 E. 7th Street, is closing.
Merit Furniture store at 764 E. 7th Street, is closing. rgarrison@herald-leader.com

Merit Furniture, open since 1956, will close sometime in December.

Stanley Hitchner, who operates the store with his brother Larry, said that, at 77, he is going to retire. Larry Hitchner may retain the Merit name for contract projects such as school and bank furnishings.

“Nobody wants quality furniture,” Hitchner said. “It’s a throwaway society.”

Stanley Hitchner pointed to retailers selling entire rooms of furniture for $499, which he said might not even cover the cost of fabric on a quality sofa.

Merit Furniture moved to its current location at 764 East Seventh Street in 2015 from North Limestone. Stanley Hitchner said the Limestone location lacked parking and was only 6,000 square feet.

The Seventh Street location has 36,000 square feet, he said.

Stanley Hitchner said the store has some accessories still available, along with office furniture and a few dining room tables and chairs.

Customers have changed their lifestyles, spending less on dining rooms and downsizing their homes, he said.

Stanley Hitchner doesn’t think the store has been hurt by online sales: “People that know what they want, want to sit in it and feel it.”

He pointed out that Lexington Furniture is closing its large store on Blake James Drive and moving to Industry Road. Burke Furniture, he said, was another colleague in traditional furniture.

“We’re not in competition, we’re friendly rivals,” Hitchner said of the two furniture stores.

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