By Marjorie Woodfin
Pilot staff writer
An era comes to a close today (Jan 9) for a family business that helped Brookings-Harbor residents furnish homes for 30 years.
Steve Williams, who took over T.C. Williams Furniture Warehouse after his father died eight years ago, admitted that there is sadness in seeing the business that his father started 30 years ago come to an end.
"But there are seasons of our lives," Williams said. "And it's time for me to move on."
There are a number of reasons the business that offered used and new furniture, antiques, and specialty items over the years is closing.
"It's a sign of the times," Williams said. "We can't compete with inexpensive furniture coming from Thailand and stores that offer no down payment credit. The market is pretty much gone."
In addition, due to financial arrangements, his widowed mother, Mary Williams, can no longer have a business operating on the property, which includes her home as well as the furniture warehouse.
He explained that his father, who was a cabinet-maker before he opened the furniture store, always wanted to be an auctioneer and apparently felt the furniture warehouse was as close as he could get to that.
Over the years, Williams said the store never advertised except for small ads placed in the Curry Coastal Pilot and word of mouth. They always had a large selection of mattresses and springs that were inexpensive that they could give away to people in need.
"We always cooperated with the other businesses and the mission," he said. He explained that being given the opportunity to take Appel's Home Furnishings' trade-ins and freight-damaged furniture helped them help others.
He said he learned a lot from his father, including his gift for making pine furniture that was sold in the warehouse in the past.
But more important, "Dad taught me honesty," he said. He explained that some in the business would try to take advantage of selling to people in distress. "I just couldn't do that." He said he was always honest in paying a fair price that would still allow a profit to be made.
Admitting that he was a bit of a rounder in earlier times, he explained that, following his return to Harbor 10 years ago to work with his dad, he found a relationship with Jesus Christ. He pointed to the shelf filled with Bibles that he kept in the warehouse to give away.
Although closing of the warehouse brings memories that make it a difficult step, Williams said that he feels truly blessed. He spoke emotionally about his father's death resulting from an aneurysm suffered while he was working in the warehouse.
"I stepped up and started running the store," he said.
"I'm so thankful. I've made a lot of friends over the years a number of old gentlemen coming in to talk, and kids coming in to visit. It's been good for the town."
But he said that three or four years ago he began to see that the end of the business was approaching.
"It's hard for me to shut the door," he admitted.
However, he is looking forward to a new season.
"I'm 54 years old, a high school dropout, and I'm looking forward to learning new skills in a new job."
He mentioned a number of friends who have helped him along the way, including David Boshart, Nancy Pettit, Harry Lawrence, Rick Green, and other Christian motorcycle buddies. He talked about his participation in Black Sheep, a Harley Davidson motorcycle group that honors Christ.
"Being with Christian bikers is wonderful praising, shaking hands, hugging."
And, when he closes the store after today's closing sale is over, he prays that his mother will find peace in her home, no longer with any worries about the business.