Cathie Anderson

Insights into the people who shape Sacramento’s business landscape

Cathie Anderson

Sacramento’s Taber Furniture to close doors after 83 years in business

By Cathie Anderson

canderson@sacbee.com

May 18, 2017 06:00 AM

Sacramento’s Taber Furniture Co. will be closing its doors in June after 83 years in business on Del Paso Boulevard, and third-generation owner Dawn Taber Schneider has already begun the going-out-of-business sales.

“Sales have been shrinking over the last 10 years, since the big housing bubble burst,” said Taber Schneider. “Everybody started getting very cautious with their money. They were only buying exactly what they needed. They weren’t going into debt as much as they used to do. … Even people that had good jobs quit spending money because they got scared. That was the turn.”

The store, located at 1815/1817 Del Paso Boulevard, will be operating regular hours through the second week of June, she said, but she is planning a farewell reception from 1-4 p.m. when customers can meet her father, 91-year-old Richard Taber Jr., a Grant Union High School graduate.

He retired in his 80s and signed the business over to his daughter. She and her husband Scott Schneider have run the furniture store since that time. Asked why the store has two addresses, Taber Schneider explained: “The one at 1817 was built in 1939 by my grandfather. After my father took over the business, he was in business with his brother Robert. They bought the lot next door, and they built a large building on that lot and then ... they punched a hole into the old building and made it one big building.”

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The combined stores have 13,000 square feet of space. Taber Schneider said her father worked in the business from the age of 10, and she began working there officially in her teen years.

“I was 16,” said the 63-year-old. “My grandmother and my uncle taught me how to do books and count money, all that good stuff that you need to learn.”

It was her grandfather, Richard Taber Sr., who founded the business in 1934. He ran it with his wife Esther Taber until their sons took over. The Tabers would buy quality furniture from homeowners and resell it, Taber Schneider said, and many customers came to them because they could get pieces they had not been able to afford new in department stores.

“In my dad’s day, it was only one or two or three people in town that liquidated estates, and there were three military bases,” she said, “so there were a lot of families that moved in and out. It was a lucrative business to be able to do that, plus people needed the service.”

Then people started having garage sales or their own estate sales. The thrift stores moved into selling furniture. The internet allowed sellers to get more attention for their sales, and that watered down the potential sources for inventory of better-quality wood furniture.

At the same time, 30- and 40-year-olds had different priorities for their disposable income. They opted for lower-price pieces from Ikea, Taber Schneider said, so they could have more money for dining out or buying electronics.

“We’ve been very fortunate over the years because we were three generations running it,” she said, “so we had three generations of customers who shopped here. They passed us from one generation to the next. Grandma would bring her newlywed granddaughter. … Return customers helped to keep us in business for as long as we have been. They have supported us over the years more than the new customers. It’s harder to get new customers than it is to keep the old ones.”

Cathie Anderson: 916-321-1193, @CathieA_SacBee