The COVID-19 pandemic has brought a unique set of ups and downs to one family-owned Danville furniture store.
Furniture Depot, on Lowes Drive, has been family operated in Danville for more than 20 years, said Brooke Hall, manager of the store and daughter of storeowner Donnie Hall.
"Actually, business has been pretty good," Brooke said. "I guess everybody sits at home, and with COVID going around, the furniture business has been good. Now, as far as getting things in stock, that's been a whole other story."
The unexpected support from the community in buying from Furniture Depot during the COVID-19 quarantine has been accompanied by a new set of hurdles to clear, Brooke explained.
"Places haven't been shipping," she continued. "I guess the truck drivers aren't driving."
Factories that normally keep over 1,000 different living room sets might have as few as ten during pandemic times, Brooke said.
Even with factories reopening, orders that would have usually taken two to three weeks now take three to four months, Donnie added.
"That’s been the most challenging obstacle we've had," he said.
For the past several months, selling off the floor has been the Depot's only option as a business that relies almost entirely on heavy shipments.
"We sell off out floor," Brooke said. "A lot of places don’t, but we do, so that’s helped out a lot. People buy it and take it with them instead of ordering. Everything is two to three months out to order, it could be."
The tap to an expansive array of shippable goods has been cut off since a state of emergency was declared in March.
"I mean, I had a landscaper tell me it was hard to get dirt," Brooke laughed. "Hard to get dirt? I couldn't imagine it being hard to get dirt. The products are just hard to get in."
It wasn’t so easy from the beginning, however, Donnie told the Star-Tribune.
"Back in February, when it first got real popular, [COVID-19] was a negative impact for the business," Donnie said. "Business was down quite a bit. In March, though, through the present, business has quickly become fantastic."
The family actually managed to set some store records with their sales during the pandemic, Donnie noted.
"I think most of that is due to people spending more of their time in the home, sitting on their furniture," Donnie said. "A lot of people were getting that stimulus money, putting it into their home."
As far as health precautions, Donnie said staying safe in the store and keeping things clean has been par for the course since day one.
"Wiping surfaces down, even keeping the pens clean... we keep our distance from customers, but still service them," Donnie said. "We keep the store a safe place for the employees and the customers."
The business is finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel after six months of supporting the community's home remodel efforts during quarantine.
"It’s starting to get better, and were very thankful for that," Hall said. "Honestly, more so just at the end of August, beginning of September. It's now starting to get better."
A return to the before-times is long overdue.
"We're ready for COVID to be over, of course," Hall said. "For things to get back to normal."
Now, it won’t be long until the business sees its busiest time of the year.
"Holidays are busy... Christmas, we normally get real busy," Hall said. "And COVID has been great for furniture. But that’s not a holiday, it's a crisis."