Manor furniture store ends 53-year chapter
MANOR — After more than a half-century of doing business in the area, a local furniture and flooring store is selling all its inventory as it readies to close up shop by the end of the year.
Andrea Solomon-Eller, owner of Furniture World Carpet One, announced the impending closure of her two stores — located at 13584 Route 422 in Manor and at 2420 Philadelphia St., in Indiana — citing economic pressures from the recession as one of the leading factors for closing down.
“It was a really tough decision,” she said. “We're sad to leave.”
Solomon-Eller had been leasing the Manor Township building from Janet Rupp.
“We lost the lease. It was a very good lease, and we couldn't afford to buy it,” she said.
During these last days of business, a steady stream of cars and trucks have been packing the parking lot, and customers have been cashing in on close-out deals while trading memories with the staff.
“Our customers have been wonderful,” Solomon-Eller said.
She said her father, Sandy Cooperman, started the business at a Ford City location in 1960 as a Mr. Tile store. He passed away in 2009, having devoted much of his time mentoring area youth. He was a volunteer with the Junior Achievement program and for 12 years taught a weekly economics class at Ford City High School.
According to a news release, Furniture World Carpet One sponsored youth and athletic teams and supported organizations including The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Pet Partners and Kittanning Workshop.
While talking about those early days, Solomon-Eller laughed as she recalled a donkey named Senior Tile, which her father gave away during the grand opening of the store.
She remembers the loud clacking of the adding machine in her childhood home as her father went over the store's expenses.
“My dad was a fun guy,” she said, adding that “he always liked to see people succeed.”
Gary Klingensmith is one of those success stories.
He started working for Cooperman when he was just 17 and after 41 years, is the CEO of both stores.
“I started working on the truck,” Klingensmith said. “I didn't realize I had a gift for numbers. He (Cooperman) saw that in me and asked me to go with him to furniture markets.”
Klingensmith said Cooperman treated him like a son.
“This is like a death in the family,” he said of the impending store closures.
“It's a great loss to the community,” he said, adding that the number of employees has decreased by half, from about 60 to 30.
But Klingensmith remains hopeful that a potential buyer will assume the furniture and flooring business under a new name and that there will be employment opportunities in the area for current staff members.
Otherwise, he said, it's unclear what the next step will be.
More information about the store and its sale can be found at www.furnitureworldcarpetone.com
Brigid Beatty is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303.