Lang-Taylor Home Furnishings
Dean Taylor is the owner of Lang-Taylor Furniture in Bonnie IL. He is a friend to many, having lived and worked in this area for most of his life. Though the name Lang Furniture has been known for generations as a quality furniture distributor, some may not know how the -Taylor was added to that trusted name.
Dean tells the story:
“My wife Cathy and I were shopping for a loveseat on New Year’s Day, 2016. We went to Lang Furniture, and got talking to Rex and Ron Harper, the owners at the time. They were wanting to retire, and mentioned selling the business. The next day, I told Cathy that I was thinking about the possibility of buying it and she promptly told me I was nuts! She eventually came around and we both started to get excited about what we might make this business into, building on the good name they already had.”
In August of 2016, just a few months after the discussion started, the Taylor’s purchased the business. They decided to honor the established name by keeping the Lang and hyphenating Taylor to the end to represent the future.
“We have worked with generations of people from the same family,” says Dean. “Their parents or grandparents bought furniture here, and so do they.”
Both Dean and Cathy are people magnets. Fun, lively, and great conversationalists, the pair were a power couple in business. Dean had spent 34 years selling lighting products for local businesses. “I was the light bulb guy,” recalls Dean. “I would go to local businesses and sell them bulbs, ballasts, and even new fixtures to improve their lighting situation. My company was certainly not the cheapest option available, but people liked the personal service I delivered and hand delivered their goods directly to them.”
Cathy also had other careers before the furniture endeavor. She had worked in the city school system before starting to sell promotional advertising items. She worked for most businesses in town providing them calendars, notepads, pens, stress balls, and anything else you can imagine to brand their company with.
“Cathy was known and loved by everyone she met,” says Dean. “She made everyone feel special and important.”
After the purchase of Lang-Taylor, Dean and Cathy realized there was much work needed to upgrade the aging buildings they had purchased. “Some don’t know that we own most of these two blocks on Rt 37 in Bonnie,” says Dean. “We have our main showroom building where we showcase the furniture sets, but we also own several warehouses to the north and east of that building. We also own the post office building directly north of us.” Some of the buildings leaked, carpet needed replacing, and some walls needed built to better section off the showroom space.
Dean recalls: “We hired Chuck Curry to come help with some handyman work. He was a lifesaver at the time. He was such a hard worker, and easy to talk to also. He made such a good impression that here we are 6 years later and he’s still here!”
The Taylors hired Chuck to help them with the daily business needs, as well as some delivery driver help. “Furniture delivery is such an important part of the furniture buying process,” says Chuck. “The large investment of a new bedroom suite includes the professional and careful delivery and set up in your home. That’s something that sets us apart from other furniture stores. We truly care about every sale, and every relationship. Our job isn’t done until your furniture is delivered, set up, and the old pieces hauled away if you want us to.”
That kind of personal service is what the Lang-Taylor name is built on according to Taylor. “Our entire business is relationship driven. We can advertise Amish made quality. We can advertise American Made. We can’t fight the big stores on price, because much that’s sold these days is cheap furniture from overseas. To make a piece of furniture that is solid, heavy, and will last several lifetimes is definitely going to cost more. We love working with customers that understand this principle, desire quality over cost, and value a working relationship built on trust and longevity.”
Tragedy would strike only 13 months after the purchase of the business. On September 17, 2017 Cathy passed away from an aneurism. The suddenness of the event left Dean devastated. “Cathy and I were married for 44 years. I lost my best friend that day.”
Dean carried on with the furniture business as a way to honor Cathy’s memory. “She loved people, and providing great furniture for great people made her feel like she was making a difference in our community. I felt if I continued doing what she loved it would be like she was right there with me everyday.
A year or so later, Dean was introduced to Laura, who also had lost a spouse too soon. They found solace in each other, fell in love, and married in August of 2018. They have fought many battles together as anyone who has been involved in small business can attest.
“Covid presented a major challenge to us,” says Dean. “I remember being shut down due to government mandates for about 3 weeks. We were waiting to see what would happen until one day a friend of mine told me that because we sold lift chairs and adjustable bases for beds we might be considered essential services. It only took a few phone calls to determine the truth, and next thing I knew we were back open for business!”
They didn’t have much walk-in traffic, but deliveries were hopping, and furniture continued to sell despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Lang-Taylor furniture sells all kinds of furniture ranging from Dining Table sets, Desks, Dressers, Bedroom Suites, Couches, Chairs, and even Outdoor Furniture.
“We probably sell more Dining Sets (tables and chairs) than anything else, but a close second would be bedroom suites, where the headboard/footboard of the bed match the dresser, and end tables” reports Dean. “We are experts at helping you select furniture that matches with your style, and integrates into other features of your home such as your existing flooring, and other pieces of furniture in your home.”
A big feature for Lang-Taylor is their Amish-made selections of tables, chairs, and desks. “the craftsmanship is second to none, and guaranteed to last a lifetime, if not two or three lifetimes,” says Dean.
Because of their relationships with their trusted vendors, Lang-Taylor is also able to get custom furniture made. “If you like a certain table, but desire a different finish, wood selection, or color, we can make that happen in a matter of weeks,” says Dean.
They boast a large selection of poly furniture, or outdoor rockers, gliders, and tables/chairs. These pieces are maintenance free, and can withstand decades of weather, rain, or sun damage.
Dean, Laura, and Chuck would welcome anyone to visit their store at 105 W 3rd St in Bonnie IL. They are open 9-5 Monday through Friday, and 9-3 on Saturday.
Stop in to view their ever-changing selection of furniture, or just to have a pleasant conversation. Those conversations are what have built the Taylor’s reputation, and love for what they do.
If you see Dean, Laura, or Chuck out an about, thank them for being a valuable part of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, and support their small business every chance you get!
Story brought to you by: the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce Small Business Council