Each month we celebrate a local business or organization that supports Radio Milwaukee. This month, we chat with BILTRITE Furniture-Leather-Mattresses.
Hi, what is your name and title at BILTRITE?
Randi K., fourth generation family member from BILTRITE Furniture-Leather-Mattresses (Sales, Design & Marketing & BILTRITE’S Spokeswoman since 2006).
What is one song you can’t stop listening to and why?
“Like a Girl” by Lizzo. Three out of five of the family members running BILTRITE are women.
What are you passionate about in regards to our community and what is BILTRITE doing for the community?
The revival of downtown Milwaukee has been wonderful to see. The economic windfall that Fiserv Forum and the Deer District has been to the area is very inspiring. It makes us proud to call Metro Milwaukee home. We’re very passionate about making the Milwaukee area a better place to live for everyone. This is why in 2006 we partnered with the Grand Avenue Club and employ two of their members, Jerry and Debbie, on our Team. The Grand Avenue Club successfully helps people experiencing mental illness achieve recovery through work, education and community life. What the GAC does for their members is important and heartwarming, and we’re honored to be a sponsor of their Grand Event every year!
How did BILTRITE get started and what are some highlights from 2019 and what’s in store for 2020?
BILTRITE was started in 1928 by Irwin Kerns on 3rd and Garfield as an upholstery shop that built and sold custom eight-way handtied sofas. We moved from building to selling furniture, and in order to expand we moved to a new location on 7th and Mitchell in 1948. Over time we acquired additional buildings on the block and operated as a large, multi-level store. Then in 2006 we relocated to our current location on 54th and Layton, a brand new 65,000 sq. ft. building in Greenfield. Currently the 3rd and 4th generation (five family members in total) are running and operating the store. In 2016, We did something a little old school in and we began Sunday closed to be with family (except we are open five Sundays during the year on holiday weekends). We have received a tremendous amount of support from our customers and now we do seven days of business in six days! This allows us a well-deserved day of rest and we get more family time with our 5th generation kids Jordan, Simon and Sloan. Our staff loves it, too!
Over the last 91 years we have built a reputation of selling affordable better quality furniture and mattresses. We carry Milwaukee’s largest selection of many specialty categories including a large selection of USA and Amish made furniture & mattresses and small scale furniture. We are also have the best selection of flip-able, two-sided mattresses that are very hard to find. Two sides are better than one! Our huge in-stock selection allows for quick delivery or pick up and we also offer custom orders at a low sale price too in your choice of fabric, leather, color, wood, finish, hardware and more!
What’s in store for 2019-2020? We just came back from the Las Vegas Furniture Market and the Amish Show in Ohio is this month and we will be at the High Point Furniture show in October so we get around lot scouting out the best furniture and mattresses options for BILTRITE! We love keeping the store looking fresh, unique and up to date with the latest trends. We are also carrying more brands and styles than ever before! From Classic Traditional, Transitional, Arts & Crafts to Mid-Century & Rustic Modern, we strive to cater to all budgets, styles, and generations. We have thousands custom order options too at an affordable sale price. We also are looking forward to a great Bucks season!
Why do you chose to support 88Nine?
We tag our social media posts with #buylocal and stand behind it!! Small businesses are what makes any community unique and thrive with creativity and support from one another. Milwaukee is unique that there are so many local businesses including restaurants, coffee shops, retail, etc. that we need to all support each other so we are overtaken by all the big boxes and online retailers. We stay strong by being a member of Local First Milwaukee, a group of independent, locally owned business and non-profit organizations located throughout the five-county area and we are a member a Furniture First which a buying group for furniture and mattress retailers across the nation. Together there are 350 stores and $2 billion buy power so locally & family owned furniture retailers can compete in today’s marketplace and stay current with the times. We believe supporting 88.9 is supporting the community — and we just love listening to Radio Milwaukee! #supportlocal #buylocal #shoplocal