It’s been 75 years since “Green’s Furniture” first became a household name in Fort Frances.
It all started at 517 Mowat Ave., across the street from its present location, with entrepreneur R.V. “Rusty” Green. The store moved to where it is today in 1948, with Rusty’s son, Van, taking over its management in 1958.
Van passed the business to his sons, Dave and Bob, in 1991.
While the store’s inventory, floor space, and name have evolved to reflect the demands of the home owner, the commitment to providing down-to-earth service hasn’t flinched, said co-owner Bob Green.
“The business was built on service way back and we still take [that attitude],” he said Monday.
This year has proven to be one of the best for cross-border business, noted Green, who added general sales were up despite the mill strike.
“We’ve sold more inventory than ever to [the U.S.] and more country people are coming in,” he said, also noting an increase in sales to area tourist camps.
Meanwhile, Van Green, now 68, offered up his opinion on where change had impacted the business the most. His picks were computers—and the fact that a refrigerator no longer is thought of as an extravagant kitchen appliance.
“Thinking back to one of the first big changes is when a refrigerator and a ringer-washer were a luxury,” he recalled. “When these luxuries became necessities, the whole country changed.
“And the age of computers . . . [Bob’s] whole store inventory is in his pocket computer,” he gestured. “Computers have allowed us to be able to keep on top of things, to analyze the market and its products better.”
Dave Green, the store’s general manager, expects the future to usher in at least a few changes in the look of appliances, especially entertainment units and washing machines.
“Appliances will keep changing and combining,” he noted. “Washers will probably be front-loading and things like computers, televisions, and stereo equipment will all be connected in some way.”
As a matter of interest, a “Beauty Rest” double mattress sold at “Green’s” in 1958 cost about $89. Today, a similar queen-sized mattress (which is now the standard size) runs around $630.