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ARCHIVED  October 1, 1997

Furniture Broker lives on as Just Office Furniture

FORT COLLINS — Apparently reports of The Furniture Broker˜s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Since the announcement last February, Earnie Garner, who owns the north Fort Collins store with his wife, Marilyn, has gradually rid the place of home furnishings and beefed up his selection of new office furniture. Now, with a new focus on medium- to high-end office and home-office furniture and a new name, Just Office Furniture, the store has a new lease on life.
Garner renovated the 18,000-square-foot building located at 400 N. College Ave. over the past several months, and leased 10,000 square feet of it to GIS World Inc., a high-tech computer-mapping publishing company. The company has signed a five-year lease for its new space, complete with dining area, elevator and basketball court.
Just Office Furniture occupies the rest of the building, though Garner has cut back on space, inventory and staff. Much of the used and home furniture has been sold or moved to warehouses Garner owns, and the staff has been trimmed from 14 to just four full-time equivalent employees.
"I think we˜ve found a niche in medium-priced office furniture," Garner said. "Lots of places sell the cheap stuff, but no one else is really doing this around here."
Garner said he˜s looking forward to focusing on office furniture — a much narrower market than home furnishings — and hopes to market the new business heavily.
"I˜d like to get some outside sales people in here, and we plan to do some strong marketing in Greeley, Loveland and Cheyenne," he said.
As enthusiastic as he is about the change, Garner said he˜d still sell the business for the right price.
"I˜ve worked at this six days a week for 21 years, and I˜m ready to take a little time off," he said. "I˜d like to sell the business or lease the space to someone who could make better use of it."
Garner offered to sell the store to Rick Sparado, owner of Brotherton Office Products in downtown Fort Collins. And though Sparado declined, he says Garner˜s decision to focus on quality office furniture is a very smart move.
"It seems every store in town offers some low-end home/office computer furniture for a little less than the other guy," Sparado said. "I˜ve found that by selling the low-end stuff, I˜m losing customers because I can˜t stand behind the product."
Sparado said he is moving away from low-end furniture and heading where Garner has already been: into medium-priced used furniture.

FORT COLLINS — Apparently reports of The Furniture Broker˜s demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Since the announcement last February, Earnie Garner, who owns the north Fort Collins store with his wife, Marilyn, has gradually rid the place of home furnishings and beefed up his selection of new office furniture. Now, with a new focus on medium- to high-end office and home-office furniture and a new name, Just Office Furniture, the store has a new lease on life.
Garner renovated the 18,000-square-foot building located at 400 N. College Ave. over the past several months, and leased 10,000 square feet of it…

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