Store owner Jay Behar, 50, left, and store manager Dan Boston, 60, right, work to help unload a truck of recliners at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Store owner Jay Behar, 50, left, and store manager Dan Boston, 60, right, work to help unload a truck of recliners at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Behar’s Furniture in Everett closing after 60 years

“It’s time to move on.” The small family-owned store opened in 1963 and grew to cover an entire city block.

EVERETT — In 1963, Behar Furniture opened for business inside a former tire store.

A half-page, black-and-white ad in The Daily Herald invited customers to drop in for coffee and check out the deals. A five-piece bedroom suite and a three-piece sectional sofa were each priced at $199. No money down. Take your pick.

Business was good. In the years that followed, owner Ron Behar expanded the 8,000-square-foot store until it grew to its current size: 40,000 square feet. Today, the building at 2105 Broadway covers one city block. From the warehouse entrance on 22nd street to the north showroom entrance on 21st street, it’s a good quarter mile.

“You can get your steps in working here,” said Jay Behar, the company’s second-generation owner. The store employs six part-time and full-time workers.

After 60 years in business, Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing.

“It just was time for us as a family to move on and explore different things,” Behar said. “Retail has changed.”

A lot has changed since 1963, including furniture-buying.

“People aren’t keeping furniture as long,” Behar said. They’re also buying furniture and bedding online without ever touching it, laying on it or sitting on it.

Store owner Jay Behar, 50, points at a photo of the original building at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Store owner Jay Behar, 50, points at a photo of the original building at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Formal living rooms are mostly a thing of the past. Today, family rooms prevail. Color preferences have shifted.

“I remember when everything was brown and green,” Behar said. Now, grays and neutrals are popular hues.

The business got its start when Jay’s father Ron Behar emigrated from England to the Seattle area.

“My dad and another gentleman with the last name Behar — they weren’t related — started with a very small store,” Behar said. “They kept adding square-footage.”

The store expanded north from the former tire store to 21st street, in between were several houses and the Ebenezer Methodist Church. Behar purchased them as the store grew. Eventually, he bought the former Tradewell grocery store at the end of the block, and turned it into the company’s main showroom.

There are remnants of the former businesses.

Warehouse associate Brandon Davis, 25, right, wheels a dolly while unloading a truck of recliners at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Warehouse associate Brandon Davis, 25, right, wheels a dolly while unloading a truck of recliners at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

The bay for the tire store’s service lift has been covered up, but it’s still there. The room that was the supermarket’s meat locker, with the drain in the floor, is still visible, though the drain has been plugged. The old meat locker is storage space now.

What’s in store for the enormous family-owned building when it’s finally empty?

“It’s a work in process,” Behar said.

Behar’s stint at the store is the only job he’s ever had.

One of his first memories is visiting his father’s store and “jumping on stacks of mattresses.”

Furniture ads from 1963 are displayed at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Furniture ads from 1963 are displayed at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

After the visits, came employment.

“I started as a young kid, dusting the furniture,” Behar said. He worked his way up, unloading supply trucks in the warehouse. He still pitches in. Recently, he helped workers unload a tractor-trailer filled with recliners.

“The last of the orders are still showing up,” he said, wrestling with a heavy box.

A few years ago, Behar took over the business from his father, now age 89.

He can still recall some of the furniture styles of the late 1970s and 1980 — floral couches, vinyl davenports, shag rugs and swag lamps.

“I watch the Goldbergs,” he said of the TV sitcom, which airs on ABC. “It’s set in the 1980s, and they have a coffee table in their house I’m confident we used to sell.”

Closing signs are posted in the windows at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Closing signs are posted in the windows at Behar’s Furniture on Monday. Behar’s Furniture on Broadway in Everett is closing up shop after 60 years in business. The family-owned furniture store opened in 1963, when mid-century model styles were all the rage. Second-generation owner, Jay Behar says it’s time to move on. (Annie Barker / The Herald)

Behar, 50, has no plans to retire.

“I’m remaining in the furniture business,” he said. He plans to continue working with the Pacific Furniture Dealers Buying Group, a collection of independent furniture retailers around the Northwest. “We partner together to buy furniture like a large chain store.”

Behar’s won’t close right away. It could be a few months, depending on sales of remaining merchandise, he said.

Some items aren’t for sale.

Memories are scattered throughout the store — photos of the showroom and generations of employees and customers; the first business license and the first dollar; binders filled with newspaper ads that span the decades.

“I’ll probably create a nice scrapbook from all of this,” he said. “I don’t think I can keep it all.”

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097; jpodsada@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @JanicePods.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Local News

Kim Skarda points at her home on a map on Thursday, June 20, 2024 in Concrete, Washington. A community called Sauk River Estates has a very steep slope above it. There is a DNR-approved timber sale that boarders the estate properties, yet they were not consulted about the sale before approval. The community has already appealed the sale and has hired their own geologist to conduct a slope stability report at the site. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Beneath steep slope, Concrete neighbors fear landslides from logging above

Nielsen Brothers plans to cut 54 acres of timber directly behind the community of 83 homes. Locals said they were never consulted.

Law enforcement respond to a person hit by a train near the Port of Everett Mount Baker Terminal on Thursday, June 27, 2024 in Mukilteo, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
2 killed in waterfront train crashes were near Mukilteo ‘quiet zone’

In June, two people were hit by trains on separate days near Mukilteo Boulevard. “These situations are incredibly tragic,” Everett’s mayor said.

Rob Plotnikoff takes a measurement as a part of the county's State of Our Waters survey at Tambark Creek in Bothell, Washington on Monday, July 1, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Snohomish County stream team bushwhacks a path to healthier waterways

This summer, the crew of three will survey 40 sites for the State of Our Waters program. It’s science in locals’ backyards.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Mountlake Terrace in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
4th suspect arrested after Mountlake Terrace home robbery

Police arrested Taievion Rogers, 19, on Tuesday. Prosecutors charged his three alleged accomplices in April.

A 10 acre parcel off of Highway 99, between 240th and 242nd Street Southwest that the city of Edmonds is currently in the process of acquiring on Monday, July 10, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Edmonds ditches $37M Landmark public park project off Highway 99

The previous mayor envisioned parks and more in south Edmonds, in a historically neglected area. The new administration is battling budget woes.

Edmonds school official sworn in as Mount Vernon supe

Victor Vergara took his oath of office last week. He was assistant superintendent of equity and student success in Edmonds.

Photos by Olivia Vanni / The Herald
Gabby Bullock sits on her bed in a room she shares with another housemate on June 14 in Everett.
‘We don’t have openings’: SnoCo recovery houses struggle with demand

Advocates say the homes are critical for addiction recovery. But home prices make starting a sober living house difficult.

Melinda Grenier serves patrons at her coffee truck called Hay Girl Coffee during the third annual Arlington Pride event in Arlington, Washington on Sunday, June 2, 2024. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Food safety team defends its work: it’s a ‘high pressure, thankless’ job

Management tried to set the record straight about long permit delays in Snohomish County.

Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. (Olivia Vanni/The Herald)
Global tech outage leaves a mark on Snohomish County

The CrowdStrike software update hit some systems at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett and briefly disrupted 911 operations.

Performers joust during the Washington Midsummer Renaissance Faire at Sky Meadows Park in Snohomish, Washington, on Sunday, Aug. 06, 2023. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Royalty and revelry: The spirit of the Renaissance comes to Monroe

The annual Renaissance fair will open its doors every weekend from July 20 to Aug. 18

Trees and foliage grow at the Rockport State Park on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Rockport, Washington. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
When you get lost in WA, what’s the cost to get rescued? Surprisingly little

Washington’s volunteer search and rescue teams save lives without costly bills.

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.