“We’re a family-owned furniture store,” said Nick Scalfano. “My family owned a furniture store in Lemay that closed.” Nick’s family ran Scales Furniture, a store that was started by his grandfather and closed by the Great Flood of 1993. After the flood destroyed the family shop, Nick started working as a manager for some of the biggest names in St. Louis furniture, overseeing the operation of up to a dozen stores and millions of dollars worth of business.
Now he wants to return to the small town feeling of a family business with the opening of Furniture Marketplace in Fenton.
Nick and his wife Paula, an interior designer, converted the old Chuck’s Boots at 300 Biltmore Drive into their new furniture showroom. Shoppers who’ve visited the store when it held thousands of boots in a maze of shelving won’t recognize the shop, now open and full of sunlight. The Scalfano’s uncovered the windows and brightened up the 12,000 square-foot room with a fresh coat of cheery green paint.
The Scalfano’s only have one full-time employee beside themselves, though family members chip in to help as needed. Their three grown children have all worked in the furniture business, and even Nick’s dad comes in to lend a hand. Paula said that her children all have careers outside of furniture, but they have all dabbled in the family business at one point or other.
This is where Furniture Marketplace sets itself apart from other furniture retailers.
“We’re owner operated, so customers aren’t dealing with commissioned sales staff. We have a better body of knowledge and we’re willing to share that knowledge,” said Nick.
“And we’re not pressured to make a quota,” added Paula.
Paula said that 75 to 85 percent of their showroom is filled with furniture made in the U.S.A. She said that finding quality products is their first concern, but they’re happy to be able to offer so many American made brands like Broyhill, Jackson, American and Southern Motion.
“We’re a small operation and we keep our overhead low. We joined a buying group and the savings we get we pass onto the customer,” Nick said.
One of the everyday price breaks they offer is a “cash” price marked on each piece of furniture. Customers who pay with cash, check or debit can expect to save anywhere from $10 to $40 or even more, depending on the item.
Paula said that they are building up their warehouse as they get a feel for which furnishing are selling best. But if they don’t have exactly the right color or fabric, furniture can be custom ordered in a matter of weeks.
Nick said they planned their store for well over a year, and selected Fenton based on both their familiarity with the town—Paula grew up in Fenton--and the demographics of the area.
“It’s a great location for us, there aren’t many furniture stores in Jefferson County,” Nick said. He added that the recent closing of American also helps their store, though that didn’t come into play in their decision making process.
Furniture Marketplace is a full line furniture store that sells sofas, chairs, recliners, end tables, entertainment centers, dinettes and bedroom furniture. They also sell area rugs and décor.