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Eads Furniture to close in August

Eads Furniture & Appliance will call it a day at the end of August.

In some ways, it was just a matter of time before one of the longest-running enterprises in Southern Oregon shuttered.

Tucked away between South Riverside Avenue and the freeway since 1963, the firm — once known by its "Hard to find, easy to afford" slogan — has morphed from moving and storage, to retail and storage, to simply storage and warehousing.

The world and retailing have labored through immense changes since 1942 when Leon and Doris Evans bought the company founded by the Eads brothers, Louis and Charles, in 1901.

"As markets change and life changes, you have to evaluate what makes the most sense for your future," said Trina Helfrich, who operates the company with her husband, Brett. "Retail didn't make sense any more. We truly started talking about transitioning out of it a couple of years ago. Five months ago, we knew it was time.

The family operates 182 storage units, five 4,000-square-foot warehouses and will convert its 10,000-square-foot furniture building into storage space.

"Things will be much simpler," Helfrich said. "We also run a rental investment company, so this will allow us to slow down a little bit and focus on one thing."

Generations of local residents bought furniture and appliances from Eads, but over the years competition stiffened and big-box stores offered customers deals they couldn't refuse.

"Lowe's sells a refrigerator we carried for $36 less than I can buy it," Helfrich said. "I can't price match that."

When the Evanses acquired the business in 1942, they made it a Monday through Friday business, freeing up the weekends. Their grandson Brett and his wife preferred it that way as well.

"The national stores are open seven days a week from 10 in the morning to 9 at night," Trina Helfrich said. "It just wasn't going to work that way for our family. Brett's mom retired, his grandparents have passed away, and no one else wanted to commit more of their life to it."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.

Eads Furniture & Appliance will close at the end of August. Mail Tribune / Jamie Lusch