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Hillsboro furniture searches for buyer

Staff writer

After being in business since 2003, John and Ann Huninghake are closing Hillsboro Furniture.

Despite a going-out-of-business sale. They still have a warehouse filled with furniture to sell.

The Huninghakes said they are trying to sell the building at 112 S. Main St., Hillsboro, and the business with its existing inventory. Over the past month, Hillsboro Economic Development Director Clint Seibel has been fast at work making connections between the Huninghakes and potential buyers.

“We’re doing everything we can to make sure we have an occupant,” Seibel said. “Naturally, we’re very concerned. We’re sad to see that portion of our Main Street empty.”

Seibel said ownership and leasing options are still on the table for a potential business. Also, he could see two or three businesses occupying the 12,000-square-foot building. There have been some interested parties but nothing serious as of yet.

John Huninghake said financing has been the major hurdle for buyers — the starting costs in furniture sales being high and banks being cautious in a struggling economy.

“It’s a pretty big building and it will take the right kind of business to fill it,” Seibel said. “The furniture business is very competitive. Evidently, the owner felt there wasn’t enough of a profit margin to keep the business open.”

John Huninghake said a lack of business is not the reason the doors are closing.

The store recently lost its manager of eight years and could not replace her.

The 2.5 hour drive from their home in Frankfort also has grown tiresome for the Huninghakes.

Hillsboro Furniture is just one of John Huninghake’s ventures. He farms 1,000 acres and owns a used car business in Marysville and rental property and rental storage units.

“Hillsboro and Marion were real good to us,” John said.

The Huninghakes would like to see another furniture business take their place.

They have been in the furniture business since 1990. They owned a store in Marysville for 15 years and a store in Concordia for another eight years. The store in Marysville, was sold; John already talked to the buyers in that situation and they said they were not interested in buying the building or the business.

However, the Huninghakes said they have built respect and name recognition in Marion County that would carry over to new owners of a furniture store.

“A lot of people do not want to go out of town to shop,” John said. “If you’re here, they’ll come.”

Seibel welcomes the opportunity for another business. He speculated that a small manufacturer could be an option especially with an easy-access alley behind the location and a building that is large and has been well kept.

“We’ve got feelers out there looking for prospects,” Seibel said. “It’s an opportunity for someone else.”

Last modified Sept. 16, 2010

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