Going Local: Martin's Home Furniture
Martin’s Home Furniture opened on Kays Drive in Normal in 1995. In 2004, the business relocated to 501 Chancellor Drive in Bloomington. Vice President Brad Martin co-owns the business with his father Tom, who serves as President. The company currently has ten employees.
Tom Martin began working at Martin’s Furniture in East Peoria when he was still in grade school. He worked for the family-owned business until he opened his own store at the age of 44 with his son Brad. The family tradition continues with Brad’s eighteen-year-old son serving as a delivery driver for the company.
“I usually work about 55 hours a week and have Wednesdays as my off day,” said Brad. “We work harder when other people are [off work]. People need time to make decisions and that usually comes when they [have time] off.”
“Mild weather usually makes early spring and early fall our busy times; tax refund time can also be busy,” Brad said. The week of New Year’s Day is also active as people may have extra time and possibly some gift money to spend.
Brad said the most challenging part of his business is deciding how to allocate his marketing budget. “Where do I connect with my customers on a meaningful basis and where can I reach people who don’t shop with us currently?”
Martin’s showroom is over 35,000 sq. ft., which allows customers to compare many different price points and quality.
“Solid wood is not the hot point it was 20 years ago and most wood furniture is foreign made,” Brad said. Wood furniture is also not made to last more than 20 years or so and that is quite different from 50 years ago. "No one is refinishing wood," he added.
Flexsteel and Bassett are two of Martin’s bigger furniture lines, but Brad says Martin’s has over 70 vendors. “I like seeing the new styles and trends and I enjoy the relationships with vendors and customers.”