Store offers furniture from their family to yours
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS – It’s a family affair at Roaring Fork Furniture.
Walk through the showroom doors at 2424 Glen Ave. in south Glenwood Springs and family members will greet you from every angle. You almost need a family tree diagram to keep everybody straight.
There’s Nancy and Scott Allison. And there’s Susan and Ben Elmore. Susan and Scott are siblings. Nancy’s parents, Jerry and Heidi Lombardo, bought the business in 1975, and sold it to the two couples in 1998.
Got it straight?
There are only a couple people who work in the store who aren’t related.
“Brian Campbell works for us, but we consider him family,” Scott said.
And the group recently hired interior decorator Tammi Baar.
“She’s suited perfectly with who we are,” said Nancy. “Her emphasis is on the client’s needs, personality and design style. Our goal here is to serve your lifestyle.”
Waterbeds to furniture
The business has evolved through the years.
Jerry and Heidi Lombardo and their children fell in love with the Roaring Fork Valley while on vacation here in the ’70s.
But what to do for a living? Jerry looked around at businesses to purchase, and found a waterbed store located in what is now the Discount Electric building down the street.
“It was that whole era,” said Nancy. “Waterbeds were really the thing.”
As the new freshman girl at Glenwood High, Nancy started dating Scott Allison, whose family operated the Ford dealership in downtown Glenwood Springs.
Nancy and Scott were the waterbed store’s first delivery workers.
“It was great,” Scott said. “I got to spend time with my girlfriend and get paid for it. We grew up in this business.”
The duo prided themselves on their lightning-fast waterbed set-up skills.
“We called ourselves Flash Delivery,” Scott said. “We could set up a waterbed in 30 minutes.”
In 1982, Jerry bought a nearby piece of land and an adjoining car wash on Glen Avenue. He built the existing Roaring Fork Furniture building. And soon, the Lombardos were selling furniture as well as waterbeds.
By 1984, Scott had become the store’s general manager. His sister Susan and her husband, Ben, moved back from Washington to help the Allisons run the store.
“I’m a structural engineer, and now I sell recliners,” Ben said with a smile.
“Well, it’s all about weight and balance,” quipped Scott.
The two couples said they enjoy working in the family business.
“We get along incredibly well,” said Nancy. “A lot of it has to do with grace and forgiveness.”
The personal touch
Nancy said what makes Roaring Fork Furniture special is its personal touch.
“When American Furniture Warehouse came to Glenwood, it scared us,” said Nancy. “But what it really did was force us to improve and upgrade. We’re better than we were.”
One of the ways they’re better is that they make a point of carrying furniture lines made in Colorado.
“We love doing business with local craftsmen,” Scott said. Furniture made in Colorado’s dry climate holds up better than products made in humid climates.
One of those Colorado lines is Groovy Stuff, furniture made from wooden wagon wheels. The store also carries framed vintage photographs of Glenwood Springs and the Roaring Fork Valley from the Denver Public Library’s Western History collection.
And there’s furniture by Lexington, La-z-Boy and Sealy. The showroom is filled with homey, cozy couches, beautiful armoires, tables, chairs, lamps and beds, and it’s all built to last.
“If we don’t like it, we don’t carry it,” said Nancy. “Everything here, we have or would have in our own homes.”
Specialized customer service is also key to the store’s success.
“When you come to us, you know us,” he said. “We build relationships based on trust.”
Nancy is hoping that will continue. The couples’ children, who range in age from 7 to 19, all work at the store.
“They’ve been raised in the family business,” Nancy said. “I sure hope one of them wants to take over. The kids love this area. It’s natural they’ll all go off on their on their own careers. We’re hoping to get at least one back.”
Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext 518
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