GIBSONBURG — For brothers Matt and Paul Kohler running the cornerstone business of Veh and Son Furniture in its 140th year is not a big accomplishment.
“We didn’t think 140 was a big milestone year,” Matt said. They are eyeing the 150th Anniversary as a future big event.
“We were here at the 100th. All three of us were here,” he said. That year the store went all out to celebrate its anniversary under its previous owner 40 years ago.
The brothers both worked at the downtown furniture store as did their mother, Mary Ellen Kohler, back when Robert Veh ran the family business that was started by his family in 1882.
Kohler family purchased store from Veh in 1988
Then in 1988, Matt and Mary Ellen bought the business from Veh making it a Kohler-family business.
“It was a thriving business,” Matt said about why they bought Veh and Son. He added both he and his mother has extensive experience in the business. Paul remained an employee of the furniture store after the family bought it.
Mary Ellen then retired in 2015 and sold her share of the store to Paul.
The business today fills three buildings in downtown Gibsonburg.
There is the main store at 132 W. Madison St., and it displays upolstered furniture. There is also a nearby warehouse and a showroom building on the south side of the street for displays of mattresses and dinning room sets.
The theme for the business is the “Biggest Little Furniture Store Around”. With 25,000 square feet of display area, the brothers say they can compete with chain stores by offering value and quality.
Store owners carry well-proven furniture lines
“We have carried the same furniture lines for years,” Matt said.
One of the main lines is La-Z-Boy, according to Paul. Like other lines in the stores, La-Z-Boy furniture is American made. Upholstered furniture is the store’s biggest seller and Veh and Son has worked to overcome the current supply chain challenges.
Other brand names in the store include Smith Brothers, Lancer Furniture, Sealy Corporation, Bassett Furniture and Archbold Furniture. The store carries many other brands, which are shared on their website vehandson.com.
“We try domestic as much as possible,” Paul said. But the brothers rely on old-style methods to keep them up and running. Although the store closed for seven weeks during the COVID-19 pandemic, theie customers came back and were eager to shop for furniture.
“A lot of places are going by the wayside, but we’re here able to steer through it,” Paul said.
The Kohlers believe there is a place for a small town business to be competitive in the furniture industry.
“I think its the
“We’ve been here quite a long while.”
Matt pointed out that the business is now expanding into the third generation of Kohlers with Paul’s two sons, Sam and JAK now working for Veh and Son.
Both brothers believe the store will be in operation for its 150th anniversary, but they said they may be eyeing retirement by then.
Hours at the main store are now 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Mondays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. The store can be reached at 419-637-7292.