Floor manager Diane Warren shows Herb
Moore a couch at the newly reopened
Roy's Furniture in Lincoln Park on Saturday. (Photo/Joe Ruppel)
By Joe Ruppel
Posted: Sunday, Oct. 27, 2013
Roy’s Furniture celebrated its return to Lincoln Park on Saturday, where a new store stands on the ashes of the former neighborhood staple that was devastated by a May 2012 fire.
“To be back here, it’s like we’re putting it all behind us,” said Stacey Flood, the store’s general manager and a third-generation member of the Roy’s family.
The store officially reopened at 2455 N. Sheffield Ave. on Oct. 17, with Saturday’s celebration punctuating the return to the location Roy’s has called home since 1980. Flood said the party, which featured food, music, games and discounts, was a “Thank You” to the community for its outpouring of support following the fire.
The new Roy’s Furniture, a contemporary building approximately the same size as the old store, features an open floor plan, floor-to-ceiling windows and two stories of showrooms.
“The old store had a lot of history to it and when we rebuilt we really wanted to capture that,” Flood said.
Herb Moore, who visited Roy’s on Saturday while shopping for a couch said he was impressed with the open, social design of the store and the customer assistance of the salespeople.
“It’s a great space, really wide open and roomy,” Moore said.
The new store also features an eco-friendly design, with unpainted ceilings, exposed ductwork and concrete flooring
“We thought if we’re going to rebuild, we want to be socially conscious and do our part,” Flood said.
While the store was being rebuilt, Roy’s Furniture operated out of a Pilsen warehouse, but there was never any doubt that Roy’s would be back.
“There was never any thought of rebuilding anywhere else,” Flood said. “We love this area. It’s great for us as a business and the neighborhood really embraces us.”
While many customers followed Roy’s to the temporary location in Pilsen, Flood said business wavered.
“It was a constant struggle to keep the doors open,” Flood said. But now that Roy’s has returned to Lincoln Park, Flood is confident that business will pick up.
The fire that broke out on May 29, 2012 and took 160 firefighters house to put out, was caused by a cracked gas pipe in the warehouse attached to Roy’s that resulted from redesigning a showroom.
Diane Warner, the store’s floor manager, remembers May 29 as a “very scary day.” The afternoon began normally for Warner, who has worked at Roy’s for 32 years, as she assisted customers on the floor. Then, suddenly, she saw black smoke billowing out of the building’s vents and heard the wail of the fire alarm.
“The next thing you knew, it was ‘bing, bang, boom,’ everybody get out,” Warner said.
Britni Ciejka, whose husband is a sales associate at Roy’s, rushed to the store when she heard about the fire.
“We watched it burn for the whole day,” Ciejka said. “There was a lot of confusion and I remember thinking, ‘What do we do now?’”
Despite hardships that followed the fire, the Ciejka’s stuck with Roy’s while the new store was built.
“It was hard and we were anxious for the new store to be built, but now it’s here and it’s beautiful,” Ciejka said.
Now that the new store is open, Flood said that she sees a silver lining to the fire.
“We know hat no matter what’s thrown at us, we’re going to be here,” Flood said.
Warner agreed that Roy’s has come out of the experience stronger than ever.
“You can burn us down, but you can’t take us away,” Warner said.
Feedback: Contact the reporter via Twitter or leave a comment below.