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Galbraith Furniture Store Closing After 117 Years in Business
The history of the store dates back to 1900.
Closing the store brings many emotions and memories for current co-owner David Galbraith.
“The feelings are certainly mixed. It’s good to move on and do something else, but seeing our customers who’ve come in to say goodbye and thinking of the all the people we’ve worked with is a different thing,” Galbraith said. “You really meet some interesting people.”
“It goes way back, some of the delivery guys were my babysitters.”
“There have been quite a few changes in the business. The sales reps you used to see on a regular basis – but now, maybe once or twice a year. We do all the ordering online,” Galbraith said.
Galbraith’s does most of its business locally in Jefferson, Clarion, Clearfield, Elk, and Venango counties.
Galbraith said they also have done quite a bit with people who have seasonal homes in the Cook Forest area and that led to business in the Pittsburgh region.
The store is being bought by a local person that Galbraith couldn’t yet name, and while it won’t remain a furniture store, the building will remain open and in business, which is good news for Historic Brookville.
In a post on the store’s website, in the early 1900′s, McKnight’s History of Jefferson County described the R and D Furniture Co. (then known as Reitz Furniture Co.) as follows:
“They are doing business as the Reitz Furniture Company and have a commodious store, carrying a large stock of furniture, as well as carpets, rugs, pianos, phonographs, etc. With a well-selected line of goods, attractively arranged, and obliging service to all patrons, they have attracted a large custom in and around Brookville, which they have held by the most commendable methods.”
In 1940, Rufus Reitz brought his son, Don Reitz, into the business, and the name was changed to R and D Furniture Company (initials standing for Rufus and Don). Rufus and Don Reitz were also involved in the funeral business for many years as was Mr. Don Galbraith, David’s father, who took over both businesses in 1963.
The Galbraith family has been operating the business ever since. The name was changed to Galbraith’s R and D Furniture Co. when a partnership was formed by Don Galbraith, and his son, David Galbraith and his son-in-law, Kenneth King.
An interesting fact about Galbraith’s building is that it still has a working elevator that was installed in 1927.
Galbraith anticipates the store will be closed by the end of October.
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