Henry Chenier and his wife

Henry Chenier and his wife

K&D Furniture owners retiring

After 40 years, iconic South Surrey and Langley business K&D Furniture will be closing its doors later this year.

After 40 years, iconic South Surrey and Langley business K&D Furniture will be closing its doors later this year.

But that doesn’t mean it won’t be open for business right to the last minute, according to owners Henry and Allyson Chenier, who have started winding down operations at both locations after deciding the timing was right for them to retire.

After a period of stock-taking, the stores will reopen for a by-invitation sale “for previous customers and members of the community” on Wednesday and Thursday (March 7 and 8).

After that, the doors will be open for general customers, they said.

“We don’t want any customers feeling we’re not going to honour or complete any orders we have and any sales we make,” Allyson – daughter of store founders Kirk and Daryl Taylor – said.

“They have a personal guarantee it will all be delivered and everything will be done.”

“We don’t want anyone to feel abandoned,” added Henry.

The decision to close is entirely their own, he noted.

“We’re going out on our own accord,” he said.

“It’s not a bankruptcy, or bank-forced.”

“It was our time to retire,” Allyson explained.

The store leases were all expiring, they added, and with the idea of retirement already on the table, they weren’t about to sign any new long-term agreements.

Allyson pointed out that, while she and her husband are the second generation in the company, there are no plans for a continuing family dynasty.

“Unfortunately, our five daughters have their own careers and lives to occupy them,” she said. “There was no hope of it going to the next level with them.

“You’d think with five daughters, one of them would have stepped up,” she added, with a chuckle.

Spending time with family is a large part of their motivation for calling it a day – the couple has six grandchildren, with one more on the way.

Allyson noted if her stress level was high during the interview it wasn’t about the decision to close the business, she said.

“My daughter Jennifer’s baby is due today – and I’m her coach,” she added.

All joking aside, a succession plan would have been crucial to a continuing K&D presence in the furniture market, the Cheniers agree.

“It’s the type of industry that needs fresh blood, fresh thought and new ideas – we’ve done it for 20 years and my parents did it for 20 years,” Allyson said.

“Things are changing. The industry has become very competitive and there’s definitely less profitability. And there’s been an influx of imported product that’s brought price levels and quality levels further down. We’ve strived to maintain quality but it’s made it difficult to be competitive.”

They have received strong support in their decision from Allyson’s parents, they noted.

Henry, who has been in the furniture business 42 years – 32 of them with K&D – said he is looking forward to travelling, golfing and continuing K&D’s tradition of donating to community causes by volunteering on the boards of local charitable and service organizations.

Allyson said life after K&D might involve her interests in decorating, renovations and real estate.

“Is there something else I’ve never tried because I’ve just done this?” she wondered.

There are, she said, still pangs that come with the decision.

“I grew up in the business,” Allyson said.

“This company was like a sibling to me, and when Henry and I bought it and took it over, it became like a child to us.”

For Henry, too, the business is like a family member.

“It’s like the old Remington commercial, where the guy liked the shaver so much he bought the business,” he quipped.

“Only with me, I liked it so much I married the daughter, too.”

 

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