by Kathryn Millhorn • Photos courtesy of Seldens
They say home is where the heart is. But chairs, tables, beds, and a really comfy sofa help too. At Seldens Furniture, they’ve turned houses into homes for the past 80 years and are still going strong today. Though times, tastes, and budgets may fluctuate, their team has been a complete home furnishings destination in the Pacific Northwest since 1940.
The business opened its doors in April 1940 as a much simpler version of today’s lush, expansive showrooms. “The business opened with five employees and a back room stocked with rolls of linoleum, window shades, and carpeting,” explains Marketing Manager Kim Fuller. “It was their window coverings that would help them weather through the tough economic times in WWII as customers were anxious to purchase blackout blinds.”
As with many long-time Western Washington businesses, Seldens also participated in government projects. These included jobs at what was then Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base (now Joint Base Lewis-McChord), Bremerton Naval Station, offices in Alaska, and around the Coulee Dam. “During 1944, the company delivered and installed 96 railroad carloads of asphalt tile in government buildings, becoming the West Coast’s largest floor-covering outlet by volume,” says Fuller. “As the war ended, Seldens adjusted their inventory to the needs of the post-war era and became a full-service home furnishings center in 1957.”
The Olympia showroom was the first generation Seldens branch and opened downtown in 1946. Over the years their address may have changed—starting at East Fourth Street before eventually ending in its current Legion Way location—but it has been a beloved fixture throughout.
“In May 1974, the Olympia location was sold to George Koehler,” says Fuller. “Upon George’s retirement, his son Tim stepped in and managed the showroom until his retirement. In January 2019, Tim contacted the Seldens family about purchasing the Olympia showroom, an exciting opportunity for a third location, and bringing the Olympia showroom back into the Seldens family fold. Today the third and fourth generations are working to make the dream possible beyond the Pacific Northwest with the same trust and quality service that has made our name stand strong.”
On Saturday, October 9 the Seldens team hosted their 81st anniversary celebration. Amongst the festivities were in-store promotions which ran through Sunday, October 17 and offered one-third off many manufacturers’ suggested retail prices (MSRP).
The Seldens family also regularly gives back to the community they’ve called home for so many years. “We work closely with NW Furniture Bank, Amara, and LifeSpring in Bellevue,” says Fuller. “We also partner with the Children’s Home Society every November for Annual Coat Drive. We have collection boxes at each of our showrooms to gather winter coats, gloves, and hats for children and adults in our communities.”
What do they hope the next 80 years will bring? The answer is simple and timeless: To continue to be the designer authority in the Pacific Northwest by designing exceptional experiences for their clients. And by doing so remain a flexible, easy, and truly welcoming process.
First, visit their online showrooms at www.Seldens.com for inspiration. There you can see pieces for living, dining, and bedroom as well as items for your home office, accessories and mattresses, and even outdoor designs.
Then stop by one of their three showrooms: Olympia, Tacoma, or Bellevue. “We understand purchasing furniture may be intimidating and overwhelming,” admits Fuller. “Let us help guide you through the process; making it a fun and rewarding experience.”
Seldens offers interior designers to work with your unique taste or simply let the pros draft a perfect room for any home. Just book an appointment, work with their skilled team, and sit back while white glove delivery service transforms or refreshes your home. You’ll find individual designer bios on their website. You can also see sample living spaces on Instagram and Pinterest (search @SeldensDesign) or Facebook (@Seldens).
In 1940 gas was $0.11 a gallon and a new home averaged $3,920. John Lennon, Richard Pryor, Bruce Lee, and Jack Nicklaus were born, and the Tacoma Narrows Suspension Bridge (Gallopin’ Gertie) collapsed. It was also the first time Washingtonians could explore Seldens for those special items which transform any house into a home. Much has changed but families still gather around the dining room table or pile onto the couch for movie night. Thanks to Seldens, we can continue to do so comfortably well into the future.
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