TIMES HAVE CHANGED
By Marsha Brick
I called one of my manufacturers in Toronto about two weeks ago to get some information for a client. I was telling him about a couple inquires I had about a sofa and told him that I had given the client quotes from them as well as Barrymore Furniture. He told me that Barrymore was in receivership and may not be around much longer.
I then called Barrymore and spoke to my customer service representative. She told me that the bank was working with them and that the owner was trying to come up with a way to save the company. I then spoke with another of my manufacturers and he told me that Barrymore had closed on Friday, January 17, 2020.
Barrymore had started in 1919 and has just celebrated its 100th anniversary. This is the third Canadian manufacturer of high-end furniture to close its doors since I started working with my mother in 2007. The first was Gibbard Furniture which opened in 1835 and closed in 2010
after 174 years in business. It was one of the Canadian companies that furnished all the Canadian embassies around the world. Their largest retailer was Eatons and their closing also
signalled changing consumer taste. Traditional quality furniture was unable to hold market share. The second was Leda Furniture closing in 2016 after 49 years. They made beautiful
furniture both in traditional style as well as contemporary. I remember they had a round dining table that would go from 60” to 80”; you would store the leaves in the drawer around the table and when you put the leaves on the drawer would support them. That is the table my mother had and now my sister has it. Leda also had a commercial division for office furniture. The market changed and now people spend disposable income on cars and travel. Another factor was that people were changing homes more often so they would buy furniture for that
current home, knowing they would be moving again within 5 years. And so, the cycle of buying disposable furniture continued.
What is most sad is all three of these companies were family run businesses, with all members of generations working together for their families. Times have changed.
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