As some of you may know, Garrison’s is celebrating our 15th year in business in 2022. Incredible, to say the least. As we come down from a crazy start to the year and our 15th annual Anniversary Sale having wrapped up, now would be a great time to do a little reminiscing, reflecting, and yeah, some cringing. It’s also a perfect time to look ahead and share what we have planned and have high hopes for, this year and beyond!
All the way back in 2006 (a different world no doubt, filled with certainty and DVD’s), owner Brian Garrison made the decision to take over his father’s small furniture store and re-brand as Garrison’s Home Furnishings. Opening in January 2007 with just 8 employees, this small yet enthusiastic band of furniture people managed to keep the doors open selling a few sofas and tables, as well as come up with the core values, mantra and the cornerstones of our culture. It’s worth noting at this point that we have several individuals from this period who STILL choose to make their living with us and are integral, committed leaders in the company. They do not work for Garrison’s, they ARE Garrison’s!
Yikes. Were those frosted tips? Well, nothing is certain but change. It wasn’t too long into the life of our company when we faced our first major challenge, the Great Recession of 2008/09. What could have been a swift demise for a small local brick & mortar business was turned into an opportunity to dig deeper into establishing our core values and really show the community that we take care of those who helped us stay afloat. We continue to put this on display every year.
Fast forward to 2012, another noteworthy year for Garrison’s. That March, we opened the first Garrison’s Sleep store! As our company kept expanding we saw the clear need to open a dedicated mattress store with dedicated mattress salespeople. We all know how awkward mattress shopping can get, and for our team, it just made sense. Later that year, we had officially more than doubled in size( people and Sq Ft) and in sales from 2007. Over 10 of our family members still with us started in and around this period. By early 13’, we were awarded our first of many “Best Place to Shop for Furniture in Southern Oregon” Mail Tribune award! We were extremely grateful then, and we continue to be today.
Rapid expansion marked the next several years as we opened our original Phoenix location (the OC/Express) in 2015 and our second mattress location, also in Phoenix, in 2016. With the now 4 stores literally bursting at the seams with product and people, we had no choice but to open our current Medford Distribution Center in April 2017. Over 20,000 Sq Feet of storage, office, receiving and construction space made all of our lives easier and kicked started a new era at Garrison’s. All this expansion also meant the addition of many more team members, primarily in the sales and warehouse / delivery positions. Today, the warehouse represents the largest department at Garrison’s and will expand even more later this year as we now have a full second warehouse building.
At the ten year mark in 2017, we finally felt truly established. Our culture and core values were in place and we were a fixture in the community as a retailer as well as a local company known to get involved. Something felt stale however, and it was during this time period that we decided to re-brand. Garrison’s Home Furnishings became simply Garrison’s Home. Amazing, we know ?. Garrison’s Mattress Gallery became Garrison’s Sleep. What vision.
2020 and 2021 were….difficult, to say the least. Shut down for most of April and May 2020, we survived thanks to dedicated team members committed to doing anything it took. Shortly after re-opening, we opened the doors to our Outlet & Warehouse Clearance Center and started a renovation /expansion of Garrison’s Express. Completed in late August, the new look Garrison’s Express was the apple of our eye, destined for legendary numbers and less confusing hallways. Fate had other plans however, as Garrison’s Express and Garrison’s Sleep were both lost in the Almeda fire that tore through our valley on September 8th, 2020. Although we were heartbroken and shocked, we refused to feel like victims. Instead, we used it as an opportunity to help the community of Phoenix where so many families that had welcomed us were devastated. Today, we are just months away from breaking ground for brand new Garrison’s Home & Sleep stores in Phoenix. We are so grateful the community has welcomed us back again, and we hope to be open again there by this winter!
2021 presented many challenges as well, as our community continued to navigate the pandemic. Staffing shortages, broken supply chains, price increases at every turn, it was a lot. As a company, we continued to try to stay ahead of the issues as best we could by ordering tons of stock, offering the best culture and benefits for our team and generally trying to be a place where our team loves to come to work. We think we’ve done a pretty darn good job because we currently have the biggest, and best staff ever!
Looking forward, Garrison’s plans to remain firmly rooted in the southern Oregon community, growing and expanding with the local demand but never moving away from our cove values, our culture or the original Mantra : “We’re not a furniture store that happens to have good customer service, we’re a great customer service company that happens to sell furniture!”