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Orange Park Furniture celebrates 50 years in the homey business

Posted 4/18/24

ORANGE PARK – Pursuing  through the aisles of sectional couches, sofas, reclining chairs, dining tables  and bedrooms, you can tell the furniture puts its motto to practice: "Feels like …

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Orange Park Furniture celebrates 50 years in the homey business


Posted

ORANGE PARK – Perusing through the aisles of sectional couches, sofas, reclining chairs, dining tables and bedrooms, you can tell the furniture puts its motto to practice:

"Feels like home." 

There's a story behind every piece of furniture, every chair, every table and every couch that's comfortable enough to fall asleep in during store hours (don't eat turkey before going couch shopping).

Orange Park Furniture got its start because of "smooth-talking" from Elmer James.

When James learned that the store's current location on 1329 Park Ave. was available for rent, he traveled to Starke to pitch his business venture to owner James Andrews. 

"I went down to Starke. I talked to Andrews about renting the building, which I knew would be a tough sell. He just evicted some kids (the previous tenants) who thought they would put Havertys out of business. He asked me, 'So how much money do you have?'

"Absolutely none," James said. 

What James lacked financially, he made up for with his fiery eagerness. 

"He took a chance. The rest is history. We went through ups and downs and a lot of pain. But we're still here," James said. 

Orange Park Furniture opened its doors on April 1, 1974. 

"You'll never make it by opening on April Fool's Day," one customer said. 

That customer, Ms. Davis, would be a beloved lifelong customer. 

"This is a family business. I have four daughters who work here in this building. They were raised here. They worked here," James said. 

"Our biggest impact is customer service. No one can touch us there. Our customers will back that up. We operate four delivery trucks. We have our delivery department. We haul off old furniture to donate," he said. 

Orange Park Furniture is affiliated with local and broad charitable organizations. One of its charitable outreach programs is picking up unwanted furniture families no longer need (usually after buying new furniture) and donating the old pieces to Safe Havens Ministries, a nonprofit that helps furnish homes for underserved populations.