Couch cushions around the showroom are pushed up like someone lost their remote or a kid is looking for some change.
The cushions signal what’s been sold at Hilliards Furniture Company, at 6914 Old Avery Road in Dublin.
Working around the ottomans and couches scattered about the room is owner Jon Kundtz, of Dublin. At 71, Kundtz has been around almost as long as Hilliards Furniture Company, which traces its roots to 1953.
On Wednesday June 16, the store will close, ending its reign as Dublin’s oldest retail business.
The store isn’t a victim of online furniture shopping or COVID-19.
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Instead, Kundtz is simply ready to kick back and relax.
“It’s just time,” said Kundtz, the store’s only full-time employee and owner.
“I get calls, ‘I hear you’re going out of business,’ and it’s, ‘No, I’m not going out of business. I’m retiring.’ … The retirement’s on my terms.”
Hilliards Furniture started as Darby Sales when Jim McKitrick, the father of Kundtz’s latewife, Mindy, invested in the business. He helped open Hilliards Furniture in the same space as Darby Sales, which sold farm equipment among other things. In 1990, Darby Sales closedand the business focused on seating and other furnishings. Mindy McKitrick took over the business from her father in 1992, and Jon Kundtz retired from his work at AT&T to join her in 2003.
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The business made it through the Vietnam War, 14 presidents and a pandemic.
But father time has won out after nearly 70 years. The store has closed some of its showrooms and Kundtz was left to run it on his own when his wife died 17 months ago.
“It’s emotional, I’ve been with the family for 50 years,” Kundtz said. “I’m the only one left … unless you do seances.”
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Hilliards joins several furniture stores to close in recent years in central Ohio, including Darrons Contemporary Furniture, Roche Bobois and Art Van Furniture, while others have opened such as T.Y. Fine Furniture, Grid Furnishings and Studio J.
Kundtz said Drake Dance Academy will take over the building, which it purchased in April for $1.2 million. Work has begun to transform the space, and the new tenants are planning to move in come mid-August, Drake Dance Academy owner Morgan Drake said.