Father-son furniture aficionados Joseph and Jeremy Danner, of Albany, are reviving retail spaces in Norwich, Oneonta and Unadilla. The family purchased the former Catalog Outlet sites, launching J & J Furniture in November 2022.
John Tammero, one of two general managers in the company along with Terri Slater, said the Danners bring decades of expertise. According to jandjfurniture.com, the company was founded in 1989.
“Joe was working for what was called Old Brick Furniture Company for 25 years or so, so he’s got 25 years of experience, and he always had that vision of opening up a furniture store his way,” he said. “That was his passion. and what he loves to do is find unique items — like a Bon Jovi jukebox — so there’s a theme of antiques mixed in with our furniture and that’s always been his vision.”
Tammero said, structured as it is, one of the four owners or managers is always in one of the stores, though he typically manages the Oneonta site.
All J & J Furniture sites, Tammero said, feature renovated interiors with furniture for “all different areas” of the home.
“When I started on Nov. 1, and so did Terri, we had nothing in the store and we had to remodel and paint and we’re still doing some remodeling, so we started with a fresh, clean slate and had to build all the furniture that was in here,” he said. “We have (furniture for) the dining room, living room, bedroom and we have mattresses, occasional tables … and we have an Adirondack room here in Oneonta with log cabin furniture and that’s really nice. We’re setting that up with a whole theme of rustic-looking cabins. It’s a little bit of everything.
“We also have lift chairs, that’s a big one, because people require them,” Tammero continued. “We’ve been selling a lot and we definitely work closely with organizations; we’ve met with RSS, Springbrook and ARC, so we’re trying to take care of them because of ‘buy local,’ and, through the chamber of commerce, we got their contacts and are trying to take care of them.”
While all three sites have in-store displays, Tammero saId, “what you see is not always what you could get.”
“We’re still testing the market to see what people like, but a big thing that we’re doing is … (offering) multiple color options and fabric, so if they can’t find exactly what they want, we can make it to be what they want,” he said. “Not for everything, but some we can change sizes or switch pillows and that’s a big offer. Special ordering goes a long way, because you can’t carry everything everyone wants.”
After ribbon-cutting events earlier this month, Tammero said, J & J Furniture is offering 23% off select items through Feb. 28, with sales tax paid on all other in-store items.
Customers, Tammero said, are happy to see the stores reopened and restocked.
“There’s not furniture companies all over the place, so I’ve had really good feedback, where people were thrilled that it’s the same and going to be furniture, and really good feedback on the look of the store,” he said. “People are happy furniture is back here and that they have another option, but they really like the atmosphere and look.”
And customers, he said, represent “a widespread mix.”
“We target different customers,” he said. “We want to make it (easy) for the younger generation just starting out buying furniture who haven’t done it before … and we know technology is a big part, so we do offer a website to buy and, for the older people to come in face-to-face, we’ll take care of them and it’s not high pressure at all.
“It’s really how you treat the people; furniture is furniture, so it’s (about) establishing those relationships,” Tammero continued. “We’re covering everything; I’ve sold to college students up to older people with lift chairs, so it’s every demographic. We don’t target one, and that’s how we shop our furniture. You have to target everyone’s different style … and show multiple different styles within the company.”
Tammero said, organizationally, he, Slater and the Danners hope to someday expand.
“Our immediate (goal) is to get open and running and set, which we are, but it takes time,” he said. “The first year is hard, we know that, but we’d love to expand to other areas, probably toward the Albany area where the owners are from, just to have another showroom.
“Another thing we were looking at is, as we grow, (to) keep renovating the building, but it’s not out of the realm (of possibility) to move the building to a more highly trafficked area, and the same is true in Norwich,” Tammero continued. “We want to grow, but not at the rate where we change who we are: a mom-and-pop. We’ve worked corporate and, between the four of us, we see the same vision, (of) staying with that mom-and-pop way of thinking.”
The Oneonta store is at 7 Chestnut St.; Norwich, 7348 state Highway 12; and Unadilla, 35 Railroad St. All sites are closed Sunday, open from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and 9 to 4, Saturday.
For more information, visit jandjfurniture.com.