By Marjorie Woodfin
Pilot staff writer
When members of the Brookings Harbor Chamber of Commerce enter Barron's Home Furnishings this Friday for the chamber business connection gathering they won't notice any difference in the establishment.
But for the three new owners, who took over Nov. 1, it definitely will be different.
It will not be the first time that Michael Behnke, Sam Justman, and Terry Adams have participated in a Barron's chamber mixer, but it will be the first time they will be participating as the owners.
The three men insist that friends and clients will neither feel, see nor hear anything different with them at the helm of the business or the mixer. "Barron and Lavonne (Peterson) left us good notes, and encouraged us to give the best service to the community," Behnke said.
"We're really different," Adams said about the business. "We're trained to go the extra little mile, give the extra little service."
Adams is the youngest member of the triumvirate, a 2002 Brookings Harbor High School graduate who came to the furniture company in 2003 as a truck driver.
Justman soon promoted Adams to assistant manager at Barron's Furniture Warehouse. Justman said, "He listened to everything I taught him and made himself a professional. That's what makes him a wonderful assistant."
Behnke, who manages the Barron's Home Furnishings location, said, "We stole him from Sam." By the time Behnke and Justman were ready to buy the business, Adams had progressed to partner.
Behnke, who came with Barron Peterson to Brookings in 1995 when the store was first opened, has been associated with Peterson since 1961. "My dad hired Barron in 1961 to deliver furniture, in Lancaster, California," Behnke said.
Peterson was later in the furniture business with Behnke's father in Sutter Creek California. When Peterson decided to come to Brookings to open a new store, Behnke came with him.
Justman, who came from Sacramento, joined Barron's in 2000. "I was managing a furniture store in Crescent City, when Barron called and asked me if I wanted to know how furniture is really done, I said, Yeah!'" Justman explained.
He began working at the store even earlier than first planned, because Behnke took a spill on his Harley that laid him up and put him on crutches.
"I've been screwing up his vacations ever since," Behnke said.
Behnke continued, "I was on my first Harley on a ride up to Klamath, when a lady in a car in front of me in Crescent City started up and I started up, but glanced away, and she stopped."
His injuries didn't turn him off to motorcycles, however. "I'm on my third Harley now. It's an infection Barron gave me."
The three men obviously have worked out a good delineation of duties. Behnke manages the furnishings store, Justman manages the warehouse location, and Adams works between stores, managing operations, and controlling the delivery crew.
"He's our resident computer whiz," Behnke said. "He keeps us in touch," Justman added.
Behnke added, "We also have an in house design consultant. Lynn McCann is our resident decorator with more than 30 years experience. We have a very experienced staff. And we try to get involved with the community."
Justman said, "Things won't change. We will continue Barrons' legacy."
Adams added, "We're here to serve the community."