The Ashley Furniture Home Store in Evergreen will be reopened by two entrepreneurs from Missoula.
Morgan Halvorson and Myron Heitzman, current owners of The Living Room in Missoula and Dream Sleep on U.S. 93 in Kalispell, have purchased the Ashley Furniture franchise and plan to be open for business by late April.
“We think there’s a great opportunity there and the economy is rebounding,” Halvorson said. “We’ve been in continuous operation in Western Montana for 38 years and we know how to run a furniture store.”
Ashley Furniture, located at 105 Bando Lane off of U.S. 2, closed its doors in July 2010 after opening in 2005. Ashley Furniture stores in Great Falls, Helena, Missoula and Bozeman also closed that year.
Despite the franchise’s problems in Montana, Halvorson said that the Ashley Furniture brand has been a success nationally.
“They’re the No. 1 furniture brand in America and the largest furniture store chain,” he said. “They’ve been a bright spot in the industry over the last decade, and we have the wherewithal and the history and the credibility in the industry to make a success of one of these.”
Halvorson said the building is in “great shape” so it doesn’t need much renovation.
Alongside the 24,000-square-foot Ashley showroom, a second DreamSleep location will be added in an additional 5,000 square feet. The success of the current DreamSleep store is part of what made reopening the Ashley store a promising endeavor, Halvorson said.
The store will carry Ashley product lines of furniture, along with Simmons and Tempur-Pedic mattress brands and other home accessories.
“We will have merchandise in stock, which is important these days,” Halvorson said. “You don’t always see that.”
He said he already has seen community interest in the store.
“A lot of cars have been driving up while we’re working in the area, pulling in here and trying to walk in the store looking to buy furniture,” he said.
Halvorson expects that the store will need about a dozen employees, and the managers are looking for applicants in sales and warehouse areas.
Shane Walker, current manager of the DreamSleep in Kalispell, also will manage the Ashley location. To contact Walker about employment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Heidi Gaiser may be reached at 758-4439 or by email at email@example.com.