Goffena Furniture marks 75 years


SIDNEY — Sidney’s Goffena family marks a business milestone this month.

It’s been 75 years since the toss of a coin determined that their name would top a local furniture store. To celebrate, the Goffenas — father and company president Matt Goffena and his sons and senior vice presidents Drew and Evan — oversaw a $750,000 remodel of the showroom, a project that took several months to complete.

“It’s a completely new store, inside and out,” Matt said, recently. The facility, at 2600 W. Michigan St., now boasts a new facade, new flooring, new walls and a stunning water wall that impresses shoppers as soon as they walk through the door.

“The only thing that’s still here (from the previous store) is the counter,” Matt said.

Customers can get in on the month-long anniversary celebration the Goffenas have in store. Almost everything for sale is available with special financing options and at a discount equal to the amount of the sales tax. People don’t have to make a purchase to be included in a drawing for prizes. They can enter their names just by walking into the showroom. The Goffenas will award a drone, a television, a tablet, a Bluetooth speaker, a bicycle, a Fit Bit, and salon packages when they draw winners from the entered names, Oct. 2.

The anniversary commemorates action taken by Matt’s grandfather, Marcel, in 1942. As reported by the Sidney Daily News in 1992, on the occasion of the firm’s 50th anniversary, that’s when Marcel turned a hobby of fixing appliances into the business of selling them. His photo appears in a 1939 advertisement for Francis Furniture. But Marcel told the Daily News in 1992 that he and his brother-in-law, Glen Francis, purchased a downtown furniture store in 1944. The Francis-Goffena name was on the business for several years.

“But the family grew too large for one store to employ,” Drew said recently. So Glen and Marcel tossed a coin to see who would stay in town and who would open a store elsewhere. Marcel won the toss. Glen opened a store in Celina. Eventually, that branch of the family returned to Sidney.

In the meantime, Goffena Furniture thrived. It filled three floors of the Poplar Street building.

“We used to take appliances and furniture to the (Shelby County) fair,” Drew said. Marcel and his son, Michael, later brought Michael’s sons, Matt and M. Jon, into the business.

“I started dusting furniture in 1979, when I was 12,” Matt said. M. Jon moved on to other pursuits some 10 years ago, and now, Drew and Evan, the fourth generation of Goffenas, are poised to take control when the time comes.

“There’s a lot of pride that comes with being part of a family business that’s lasted so long in a small community,” Evan said. “There aren’t many fourth-generation businesses. They’re few and far between.”

Marcel, retired since the store moved to its current location in 1997, and Matt have seen a lot of changes through the years in what customers want. The store used to carry a full line of appliances, flooring and carpeting. The appliances were discontinued in the 1980s and the flooring, in 2000.

“We sold TVs in the store downtown. We quit doing that in the ’70s,” Matt said. These days, it’s huge sectionals that are popular. Overstuffed, comfy furniture and anything that reclines are big sellers. And while living room furniture has become larger, dining room tables have shrunk.

“People aren’t buying 16-person tables anymore. They have islands. They have bars,” Drew said.

Another change is what shoppers expect when they walk into a store. Now, “customers want a destination. They want a shopping experience. People talk about the water wall. And we could get twice the furniture in here, but it doesn’t give customers a good experience,” Matt said. Shoppers expect to see furniture displayed in room-like groupings, completely accessorized with vases, throw pillows, rugs and wall art. Goffena Furniture also specializes in mattresses.

“We have one of the largest mattress galleries in the Miami valley,” Drew noted. And there is a connection with Amish craftsman to make made-to-order furniture available to Goffena customers.

The biggest challenge the business now faces is digital competition.

“Facebook and the new technology are how to reach that customer. We have to have a special niche. Customer service has to be a top priority. We’re not complacent about customer service,” Matt said.

Drew agreed.

“We get calls all the time to say the delivery or the service team did a good job,” he said. All 15 employees know they’re going up against digital competitors that have millions of customers.

Even as the family opens the doors on the newest design of Goffena Furniture this month, the fourth-generation Goffenas are looking to the future.

“The intention is for Drew and me to grow the business as much as possible, open up new stores, so there’s enough to go around,” Evan said.

“We want to make this a destination store,” said Drew, who left an engineering career for the furniture business. Why did he do it?

“I get self-worth. My name’s on the building, so I’m working toward something greater than a paycheck,” he said. “I have two sons. I hope there will be a fifth-generation Goffena Furniture.”

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Representing three generations working to run Goffena Furniture, Matt Goffena, left to right, and Mike Goffena, watch as Evan Goffena and Drew Goffena, place a coffee table in one of their store’s displays, Thursday, Sept. 7. They are the second, third and fourth generations to operate the store, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this month. For story and historical photos, see Page 10.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/web1_SDN090817Goffena.jpgRepresenting three generations working to run Goffena Furniture, Matt Goffena, left to right, and Mike Goffena, watch as Evan Goffena and Drew Goffena, place a coffee table in one of their store’s displays, Thursday, Sept. 7. They are the second, third and fourth generations to operate the store, which celebrates its 75th anniversary this month. For story and historical photos, see Page 10. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/web1_Goffena-90.jpgCourtesy photos

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/web1_Goffena-Marcel.jpgCourtesy photos

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/web1_Francis-Goffena.jpgCourtesy photos

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/web1_Goffena-rugs.jpgCourtesy photos

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/web1_Goffena-73.jpgCourtesy photos

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/web1_Goffena-fridges.jpgCourtesy photos

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/SDN-Jan.-3-1997-pg.-8A.pdfCourtesy photos

http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/web1_SDN-Jan.-3-1997-pg.-8A.jpgCourtesy photos

Evan Goffena, Mike Goffena, Matt Goffena and Drew Goffena represent three generations working to run Goffena Furniture.
http://www.sidneydailynews.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/47/2017/09/web1_SDN090817Goffena2.jpgEvan Goffena, Mike Goffena, Matt Goffena and Drew Goffena represent three generations working to run Goffena Furniture. Luke Gronneberg | Sidney Daily News

By Patricia Ann Speelman

pspeelman@sidneydailynews.com

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.