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Local furniture store to close

February 16, 2009|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN -- Davids Furniture & Interiors plans to close its Hagerstown store in April, less than two years after buying the shop from Maidstone Interiors.

Michael Martin, president of Davids Furniture & Interiors, said the company's other three stores are faring well, but the Hagerstown shop wasn't getting much traffic.

The building will be sold at an auction next month, as long as someone bids at least $575,000.

Martin said the building, at 117 Summit Ave., was appraised last month for $890,000.

Maidstone Interiors was sold to Davids after 73 years in business. The property transfer took effect Aug. 29, 2007, and the price was $650,000, according to Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation records.

Elizabeth Starnowsky, whose grandmother co-founded Maidstone Interiors, said at the time that it was difficult for a small store to compete with larger ones.

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The closing of the Hagerstown branch of Davids, a Pennsylvania-based company, follows other bad news in the local furniture market the last several months.

In September, the owners of Statton Furniture Manufacturing in Hagerstown announced the store was closing after 82 years because of a significant decline in sales. The property and equipment were sold at auction last month.

Reliable Home Furnishings in Hagerstown shut down in June 2008 after 64 years. The company filed for bankruptcy.

Martin said Monday that when Davids took over Maidstone Interiors, it gave the store time to succeed. After about a year, though, it became clear the store wasn't doing well, so the owners decided to auction the building and move the business elsewhere in Hagerstown, he said.

But as the economy faltered, the plan changed. Davids decided about a week ago to leave Hagerstown entirely, Martin said. Employees were notified Monday.

He said it would have been a burden to force the company's other three stores to shoulder the costs of moving the Hagerstown branch.

Davids Furniture & Interiors has stores in Harrisburg and Mechanicsburg, Pa. The same owners bought Griffith & Bixler Furniture & Interiors in Reading, Pa., in September 2007.

A going-out-of-business sale at the Davids branch in Hagerstown is scheduled to start March 24.

That same day, J.G. Cochran Auctioneers & Associates of Boonsboro will auction the 27,000-square-foot, three-story building at 2 p.m.

The Hagerstown store has three employees -- two full-time, one part-time, Martin said.

He said the closing will not affect previous orders, which will be filled through the company's other stores.

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