State

Owners of Hansen's Furniture retiring, eldest son is taking over

After nearly 40 years of selling the things that help make a house a home, the owners of Hansen's Furniture are retiring.

But husband-and-wife founders C.K. and Lila Hansen should be comfortable with their successor, eldest son Randy Hansen.

To make way for the new ownership, all four of the company's stores are holding retirement liquidation sales to clear out inventory.

But the company, which for decades has been one of the largest furniture retailers in the Central Valley, isn't going anywhere.

"They both felt like it was time to retire from the business. But it's just a retirement sale," said Randy Hansen, who has done much of the day-to-day management of the stores for the past several years. "People think we're going out of business as soon as you do anything like this."

The Modesto, Winton, Turlock and Merced stores are liquidating some $10 million in furniture and accessories so the elder Hansens can retire.

Brand-name couches, love seats, bedroom sets, dining rooms sets and more are on sale, many at 50 percent to 60 percent off.

The family business, founded in 1972, will be handed down once the sale is over later this summer.

Afterward, the store will continue with new inventory. Hansen plans to keep almost all of the current brands and products it sells. So, to consumers, the change should be minimal.

"It's business as usual. Our products will be the same and our employees will be the same," he said.

Even C.K. and Lila will still be around. Now 78 and 74, respectively, one or the other pops into the Winton store almost every day.

Neither was available for comment for this story, though.

Thirty-year employee George Casebier, who started working at Hansen's when he was 20, said the couple is on a first-name basis with many of the store's clients.

"C.K. is very relaxed and laid back. Lila is more hands-on with the business," said Casebier, who manages the Modesto store. "Everybody loves her. It's literally like going into a furniture store and having your mom help you."

This is particularly true in Winton, where the company started and the Hansens still live.

Over the years, Casebier said, new generations from the same families have come in to find their home furnishings.

"It's neat," he said. "You've got a young couple in with a baby. You hold him while they test drive a Barcalounger. And then you sell that young man some furniture when he gets older."

Randy Hansen said the Winton store is the oldest, but the Modesto store -- measuring the size of two football fields -- has the largest showroom in Merced and Stanislaus counties.

The Modesto store, at Briggsmore Avenue and Sisk Road, has been open for 20 years, and the Merced and Turlock spots have been open for a decade.

Randy Hansen said being an established part of the community and keeping products and prices stable have helped the business survive and thrive over the years.

He said that same philosophy will carry the business into the future.

"Like every industry, it's not as good as it was in 2005, but because we've been here so long and own the buildings, we can weather the storm," he said.

Bee staff writer Marijke Rowland can be reached at mrowland@modbee.com or 578-2284.

  Comments