Karvonen's celebrates 80th anniversary
With a presence in East Otter Tail County that spans 80 years, Karvonen's Brand Source home furnishings store has become an icon in the area. Third generation owner John Karvonen is just as proud of his commitment to quality products and competit...
With a presence in East Otter Tail County that spans 80 years, Karvonen's Brand Source home furnishings store has become an icon in the area. Third generation owner John Karvonen is just as proud of his commitment to quality products and competitive prices as his father and grandfather were before him.
The family business was started by John's grandfather, Yalmer Karvonen in 1926. John's father, Harold, took over the business in 1950. When his father retired in 1988, John acquired the business. He started working with his father in 1981 when the store was moved to Perham.
Before his father made the decision to relocate to Perham, Karvonen's had its base in New York Mills. When his father moved the business, the Karvonen's donated the building to the city of New York Mills. That building was transformed into the New York Mills Regional Cultural Center.
Before joining the family business, John Karvonen went to Minnesota State University Moorhead and the University of Minnesota where he obtained degrees in both business and mortuary science, preparing him for the two family businesses.
For John Karvonen, the best part about working as a third generation owner of the home furnishings store is the day to day interactions he has with people. Karvonen finds great satisfaction in providing customers with the highest quality of products.
Several years ago, Karvonen made the decision to team up with Brand Source, a decision that allows the business to offer more competitive prices by buying direct and removing the middle man.
"We have a four state guarantee," said Karvonen who was proud to explain that the store can match prices with stores as large as Sears and Slumberland any day of the year.
Providing quality products that are made as close to home as possible is another important business decision for Karvonen. "I try to buy in the Midwest first, then the continental U.S., then the northern hemisphere and then oversees," he said. He finds that products made close to home are usually higher in quality.
It's not just the products that have helped Karvonen's to remain successful over the years, it is the extra attention put into the way items are purchased and sold. For example, the bedding sets for sale are built every week and brought in new so they never have to sit in a warehouse.
The colors on the walls in the store are even significant. They are carefully selected to coordinate with the furniture in each room and are representative of colors currently popular in the home design world.
One of the expanding areas in the store is Karvonen's digital center which features the latest in televisions and other electronic products. "Everything is going to high definition," said Karvonen, who said how he makes it his responsibility to do everything he can to help demystify technology for customers. Continuous advancements in technology bring in a steady stream of new and exciting products.
To celebrate 80 years of service, Karvonen's Brand Source featured store specials through October.
"The month of October was a fantastic sales month, we really appreciate the local support and will strive to earn customers' business each and every day," commented Karvonen this week.
"My dad said to me, "If you love your job, you never have to go to work,'" John recalled. Karvonen has taken this old adage to heart and is pleased to note that he so enjoys his job that he has been spared from ever having to go to "work."