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By Fay Froseth
After nearly 30 years without, Kenmare will have a furniture store on the square.
Kay Furniture, owned by Ralph Kay of Williston, has opened the doors of his store in the new strip on the west side of the square.
"It will be our practice run week," explained Kay. The Grand Opening for the Kay Furniture will be next Monday through Saturday, August 11 through August16 with a drawing for a recliner to be given away.
Ralph Kay, originally from Mohall, runs a "rent-to-own" store in Williston. While watching the local news, he saw the new development in Kenmare being featured on the "Business Beats" section. "I called Jeannie Brekhus, a long- time friend, and asked for more information," said Kay.
After working with both Economic Development Director Jen-nifer Nelson and Kenmare Development board member, Jamie Livingston, Kay saw an opportunity to provide a service needed in the Kenmare area.
His store will offer Ashley Furniture as the main line featured on the floor of the business.
"We will offer Benchcraft, which is a branch of Ashley," said Kay. "We will also have the Ashley Sleep line." Kay said it is his first time working with this part of the company, but the line offers everything from the traditional mattress to the newest innovation of gel mattresses. "The gel mattress keeps the body cooler," explained Kay. "I think the gel mattress is softer than the memory foam and it is the newest thing in the 'sleep' market."
Kay Furniture will sell living room, bedroom and dining room sets along with accessories for the home such as pictures, wall hangings, comforters and throws, pillows (both decorative and regular bed pillows), lamps and entertainment centers. "We are not going to get into the floor covering market though we will offer area rugs,"explained Kay.
At this time, he was unsure of offering electronics in his store. Kay also made it a point to say the store would not be offering a "rent-to-own" portion of the business.
The customer will be able to purchase the most up-to-date fabrics and colors for their homes at Kay Furniture. Instead of the traditional swatches and samples taking up precious space on the floor, Kay Furniture will offer the customer to ability to work directly with the Ashley warehouse. "We can use our Ipad, which is a direct connection to the warehouse and see if the item is available," explained Kay. "The customer can also work online within their home." Both Kay and Brekhus were excited about the fact the customer can see the latest colors, furniture designs and fabrics. "We have two store fronts but we are going to need every bit of space," explained Jeannie Brekhus.
"The turn-around for furniture orders is fairly quick, depending on if the furniture is in stock at the warehouse," said Kay. "The longest will probably be about four weeks." And, even though the store has not officially opened, business sales have started. "We have already had a couple of orders,"smiled Kay. Jeannie Brekhus will be the familiar face in the store. She laughed about returning to her old "neck of the woods" on the square, just being a few doors down from the former establishment of Wayne's Bar and later, Danny's.
Both admit they are a bit nervous about the computer system. "It is easy to use but they now have new software that I need to become familiar with," said Kay.
With Jeannie at the helm, Ralph Kay will continue to be around for the first few weeks of opening the doors, staying at a local hotel but after the store begins running smoothly, Kay will then drive back and forth from the Williston area. At this time, the only other employees are a couple of young boys to help unload the trucks.
Jeannie is also offering local flavor with accessores featured in the store. "I have approached a member of the Lakeview Art Club
to have the group hang their pictures and also talked with Black Bear Photography."
Kay Furniture, after the grand opening week, will be open Tuesday through Friday, 10 am to 6pm and Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm. The store will be closed Sundays and Mondays. To call the business, their phone number is 385-4KAY(385-4529) and a website will soon be available for customers to view.