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Larrabee family’s furniture store closes after 60 years in Colorado – Greeley Tribune

The Larrabee furniture store, a Colorado staple for about six decades, is closing the four-generation family business at the end of this year.

Larrabee Furniture + Design, whose roots date back to 1943 in South Dakota and Minnesota, has hired several temporary employees to prepare for an exit sale at its showroom at 311 E. County Line Road in Littleton. Co-owners Scott and Carolyn Larrabee, both in their early 60s, said Thursday that while the time is right to move forward, it won’t be easy.

“It’s a bittersweet moment for us. We look forward to the next chapter of our lives, but we absolutely love our employees and our customers,” said Scott Larrabee.

“We have nothing but gratitude for all the years we’ve done this,” Carolyn Larrabee said. “We have been so supported. I think the best thing is our staff. We have wonderful staff who helped us from start to finish.

The Larrabees opened the Littleton showroom in 2013 when they moved into a building where the now closed Kacey Fine Furniture was located. They hired several of Kacey’s former employees.

The Colorado chapter of the Larrabee family business began in Boulder in 1962.

“I started 60 years ago this month, installing dinette sets for Dad and my Uncle Cliff,” Scott said.

Scott’s uncle and grandfather, Howard Larrabee, started the furniture business in 1943 in Sioux Falls, SD, and Ortonville, Minnesota. Scott joined his uncle and father, Lee, in the family tradition. He and Carolyn had three different stores in Fort Collins and one in Greeley before opening their store in Littleton.

A fourth generation has contributed to the growth of the company. The Larrabees’ daughters, Erin and Heather, and their son, Matt, are part of the crew. Erin is the Executive Vice President of Operations and Marketing.

Matt, who lives in California, is the director of e-commerce and will be in Colorado this summer to help with operations at the company’s three warehouses. Heather, who helped brand the company, leads corporate communications.

“It’s really everyone on deck. That’s how we’ve always operated as a family,” Erin said.

One factor behind Larrabee closing now is that the store’s lease needs to be renewed.

“We had a big lease ahead of us in terms of the number of years,” Scott said. “We had to decide if we wanted to sign a lease that would last until we were 80 or was it the best time to maybe…”

“Get out,” Carolyn said, providing the word Scott was looking for.

Larrabee’s, like businesses nationwide, had to navigate the choppy waters of the pandemic that included risks such as supply chain disruptions and labor shortages. Despite the challenges, Scott said “business has never been better”.

Early on, Larrabee built up his inventory to make sure he could weather the storm, Scott said. “When people were out of stock, we had plenty of goods.”

Even after closing for nine weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, Larrabee topped its 2019 sales because demand was so high, Scott said.

Yet people’s focus on home renovations when other activities were limited has caught up with the business. Erin said the manufacturers had months of backlogs. As expectations get shorter, she expects supply chain issues to take years to resolve.

Given the outlook, it’s a good time for her parents to retire, Erin said.

“And then we were always going to bump into the new way of consuming, which is more about buying online,” Erin added. “We have a website and an e-commerce, but at our price point, which is mid to high, I just think it’s a harder way to navigate shopping.”

Scott said he would miss the company, even with all the changes and challenges. “I love coming to work every day. I really, really do.

However, Scott and Carolyn agree there’s something even better: spending more time with their three grandkids.

“I love this furniture company, but it’s nothing compared to being a grandfather,” Scott said.