Spokane Journal of Business

Sylvan’s to open Ashley store in Lloyd’s building

Lloyd’s Appliance & TV, two affiliate businesses plan move to building on Boone

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Two longtime Spokane retailers are planning new uses for a couple of buildings near downtown.

Sylvan Furniture Co., a 55-year-old business that operates a store downtown at 227 W. Riverside and a store in Lewiston, Idaho, says it has leased the 24,000-square-foot Lloyds Appliance & TV Center building at 1233 N. Division from owner Al Payne, of Spokane, and plans to open an Ashley Furniture Home Store there this summer.

Sylvan President Chuck Dreifus, son of company founder Sylvan Dreifus, says the store will be the first exclusive outlet in Washington for living room, dining room, and bedroom furniture made by Ashley Furniture Industries Inc., of Arcadia, Wis.

Lloyds Appliance, a 58-year-old business, and two affiliated businesses, Lloyds Rentals and Watersports Outlet Warehouse, all will move from the building on Division into a 25,000-square-foot building a couple of blocks to the west, at 301 W. Boone, this month.

Gar and Nancy Mock, who are in the process of selling the businesses to their son, Bret, say they plan to spend $180,000 to $200,000 to remodel the new space and to create more of a warehouse-store concept for the businesses. They already are using more than half of that building for storage and have a lot of money tied up in the stock thats kept there, so, We might as well show it off, Gar Mock says.

A Pay N Pak hardware-and-garden store occupied the building for a time, and a Christian Supply Center store most recently has been leasing a portion of it, but the store closed last weekend and is combining with one at 510 E. Francis.

Sylvans new store

Dreifus, of Sylvan Furniture, says hes excited about the plans for the new Ashley Furniture store, which will be the Spokane companys first significant expansion since it opened the Lewiston store in 1957.

We just felt it was a good opportunity, and we liked the location, he says.

The store will carry all styles of Ashley-made furniturecountry, contemporary, traditional, and leatherand probably will include a mix of about 50 percent living-room, 25 percent dining-room, and 25 percent bedroom furniture, Dreifus says. Its not clear yet how many people the store will employ, he says.

Sylvan Furniture has been carrying the mid-priced Ashley furniture line at its downtown store for some time. We were kind of test-marketing it to make sure it was something that was viable for us, and it has become a major line for us here, Dreifus says.

Sylvan Furniture probably will continue to carry some Ashley furniture after the exclusive Ashley store opens. The company employs a total of about 25 people, including about 14 here.

Dreifus says his father, now 88, still has an office at the downtown store and is our PR man.

He is remembered by many Spokane residents as good ol Smilin Sylvan, from the companys long-running TV and radio jingle.

Lloyds move

The Mocks say that moving their businesses from the two-floor, somewhat-segmented building on Division to the single-story, more warehouse-like building on Boone will make it easier for them to implement their planned new warehouse-store concept.

After helping their son through a transition period, they plan to begin spending more of their time in Arizona, where they have a winter residence and own a medical office building.

Gar Mock, wholike Sylvan Dreifusis familiar to many Spokane residents because of his longtime retail-industry presence here, says he would prefer to remain active in the family business operation. He says, though, that he was diagnosed with Parkinsons disease some time ago and now must avoid stress.

Lloyds has been doing business here since 1942, when Lloyd Distad opened it as a furnace store and sold some TVs. The Mocks bought the business from Distad in 1978. It has been at its present location since 1973.

Although its staple inventory items since then have been household appliances and home-entertainment equipment, it also has sold a variety of other merchandise, including furniture and even maintaining a large baby department at one time, because Im a risk-taker, Gar Mock says.

He added the rental operation in 1982, allowing customers to rent rather than buy the merchandise that Lloyds carried. Tom LaLone, a former business associate of Mocks, joined him as a partner in that segment of the business, but LaLone sold his share of the rental business back to Mock in 1987.

Mock began selling marine supplies in 1992, establishing Watersports Outlet Warehouse as a separate entity through which to operate that side of the business. He and his wife sold the Lloyds retail and rental operations to LaLone in 1994, but reassumed ownership of them about three years ago.

The marine-supply business, which for a time occupied the main floor of the Lloyds building, has been located on the basement level most recently, and the appliances-and-home-entertainment-equipment businesses have been upstairs.

Altogether, the businesses currently employ about 14 people, not including the owners.

Kim Crompton
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