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Owners of longtime Bellingham business are retiring, preparing for store-closing sale

Owner Monte Smith, left, talks to customer Matt Hanson at Woodsmiths Furniture Monday, Sept.18, 2017. Woodsmiths is closing after 36 years.
Owner Monte Smith, left, talks to customer Matt Hanson at Woodsmiths Furniture Monday, Sept.18, 2017. Woodsmiths is closing after 36 years. pdwyer@bhamherald.com

A longtime furniture business known for its solid wood and an Amish furniture line is having a store-closing celebration because the owners are retiring.

Woodsmiths, which has been in Bellingham for 36 years, is making preparations for an inventory liquidation sale that is expected to last into December, said Monte Smith, who owns the business with his brother, Ron. The store is at 1821 Cornwall Ave., near Bellingham High School.

Embracing the “It’s been fun, but now we’re done,” mantra, Monte Smith said they’ve enjoyed the relationships they’ve had with customers over the years, but are ready to try different things.

It has been a joy starting a business like this without much money and having it last this long.

Monte Smith, co-owner of Woodsmiths

“It has been a joy starting a business like this without much money and having it last this long,” Monte Smith said.

After being in Burlington for a year, the business moved to Bellingham in 1981 under the name The Unfinished Store. Like the name implied, customers would buy the furniture and have it finished, whether it was adding a stain or some other feature. As the business evolved, Monte and Ron learned that customers preferred the finished product. The owners rebranded the business in 1986 as Woodsmiths.

The business started in a small space on Chestnut Street before moving to the corner of Cordata Parkway and West Bakerview Road in 1992. Woodsmiths moved to the current Cornwall Avenue address in 1997.

Looking back, Monte Smith said staying with solid wood furniture was a big factor in keeping the store in business. The trend for many stores was to go with the less expensive material, but Monte believed there was a market for furniture he said lasts much longer.

Woodsmiths also concentrated on having products that were made in the U.S.

A couple of years after the financial meltdown in 2008, Woodsmiths introduced a line of Amish furniture. That was a big hit, Smith said, and expanded the company’s reach as more people from outside of Bellingham visited the store.

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Philip A. Dwyer pdwyer@bhamherald.com

The business is also known for its stability. Along with Monte and Ron, customers are regularly greeted by sales manager Steve Griffin, who has worked at the store for 27 years. Having a familiar face was something customers appreciated, Monte Smith said.

Store hours will remain the same during the sale –10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. Details about the business can be found at Woodsmiths-furniture.com.

Dave Gallagher: 360-715-2269, @BhamHeraldBiz

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