R.C. Willey Home Furnishings does its best to be top dog. The company drives traffic by giving away some 600,000 hot dogs a year at about a dozen stores in California, Idaho, Nevada, and Utah. Despite Sunday store closures and operations in only four states, R.C. Willey is one of the nation's largest furniture retailers. Its offerings include furniture ( La-Z-Boy, Flexsteel), appliances (GE, Maytag), electronics (Sony, Panasonic), and flooring. The firm also sells mattresses (Serta, Spring Air, Simmons). In 1932 Rufus Call (R.C.) Willey sold appliances door-to-door; today the company he founded is run by his son-in-law, chairman Bill Child, and grandsons. Berkshire Hathaway purchased the company in 1995.
Having logged the worst financial results in company history in 2008, Berkshire Hathaway chose to cut manufacturing jobs and shutter some facilities during 2009. At R.C. Willey, the parent company decided to lay off workers as the company implemented cost-cutting measures. Boasting some 1.5 million sq. ft. of retail space, R.C. Willey is part of Berkshire Hathaway's home furnishings business alongside Nebraska Furniture Mart, Star Furniture, and Jordan's Furniture.
As others in the industry falter during the economic downturn, R.C. Willey has felt the pinch. When DeCoro USA, the sales and distribution business of former leather upholstery maker DeCoro, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in mid-2009, R.C. Willey was listed as one of the company's largest unsecured creditors with more than $90,000 due to the furniture maker.
A plus to R.C. Willey Home Furnishings customers, the company offers financing through its R.C. Willey Credit Card. The furniture chain opened its first store in California in mid-2006. The 135,000-sq.-ft. store is located in Rocklin, near Sacramento. – less