Furniture era ends

For more than 50 years the Oldenburg family has been selling furniture at Oak Harbor Furniture on Midway Boulevard.

That era ended May 1 as Oak Harbor Furniture was sold to Cramer’s Home Center, an Ellensburg-based company that also operates stores in Omak, Cle Elum and Yakima.

Oak Harbor Furniture, which is also a La-Z-Boy gallery, originally opened in 1950 and was owned by Norm Oldenburg. Norm’s son, Todd, came on board in 1969.

In the early days of Oak Harbor Furniture, people may remember the pony rides and children’s activities Norm would use to liven things up during sales.

Todd and his wife, Paula, purchased the store from from his parents in 1977 and maintained ownership until this month.

“It was a good time to sell,” Paula said. “It’s the end of an era and the beginning of an adventure.”

Now that they are retiring, the Oldenburgs recently bought a home in Mesquite, Nev., near Las Vegas. However, they will be splitting time between both cities. They plan on spending the winters in Nevada and summers in Oak Harbor.

Retirement allows Todd and Paula a chance to pursue any business opportunities that may arise, and, since both homes are located next to golf courses, plenty of time for golf.

Being in Oak Harbor part of the year allows them to keep in close contact with their children, two of whom, Mike and Suzy, live in the greater Seattle area. They have a third child, Tracy, who lives in Boise, Idaho, with his wife, Jennifer, and 10-year-old son Roman.

Oak Harbor Furniture is the first location on the west side of the state for Cramer’s Home Center.

“We have a certain formula and this fits it perfectly,” said Marty Cramer, president of Cramer’s Home Center.

Cramer looks for locations in small towns located off the beaten path.

He added that, although his stores are located in small towns, Cramer strives to have the selection and prices that shoppers may find in larger, more competitive markets.

When the Cramer Home Center buys its merchandise, it does so for all stores. That way he can get a discount and ultimately save the consumer money, Cramer said.

He said he also looks for furniture produced in the region to add to show rooms. Not only are those items well made, but buying some products locally reduces shipping costs and those savings are ultimately passed to the consumer.

Cramer said that he wants to continue with the Oldenburgs’ reputation of customer service.

“We emphasize making the furniture shopping experience fun,” Cramer said. “We really enjoy what we do.”

While the ownership of Oak Harbor Furniture is changing, its name is largely staying the same.

Oak Harbor Furniture is going to be known as Cramer’s Oak Harbor Furniture.

Cramer said the “Cramer” name will appear on the sign but won’t be prominently featured.

He said the altered name is necessary for advertising purposes.

Cramer is spending the week in Oak Harbor to help ease the transition to the new ownership.

However, there will be celebration Saturday to give the Oldenburgs a send off. Cramer said that was the right thing to do considering the time they’ve been in Oak Harbor.

“When you have someone that’s been in business for 50 years as the Oldenburgs, then you have a ton of people who have connected with them,” Cramer said. His wife, Michelle, will also be attending the celebration.

The celebration takes place today, May 8, from noon to 3 p.m. at Oak Harbor Furniture on Midway Boulevard.

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