Purely Wood Furniture: Celebrating 25 years and overcoming tough odds

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Mark Hughes and Randy Beliveau, owners of Purely Wood. Courtesy Photo

MANCHESTER, NH – When friends and co-workers Mark Hughes and Randy Beliveau got unexpectedly let go from their positions at Unfinished Furniture House 25 years ago, they didn’t cower. Armed with years of experience in the furniture industry and combined extensive product knowledge, the pair decided they would try their luck at opening their very own furniture retail shop.

Although they were undercapitalized to start a business, they were equipped with a vision, and that vision is what kept them motivated.

“We were simply dumped out in the cold. Our employer was having financial problems and we didn’t know our jobs were in jeopardy. I was two days away from closing on my house when I got let go. Talk about a stressful situation”, says Hughes.

Within weeks, with what little earnings they had saved and money either given or borrowed from friends and family, they raised enough capital to purchase inventory and set up their own furniture retail shop, Purely Wood Furniture, originally located on Second Street in Manchester.

Hughes and Beliveau distinctly remember that first day.

Purely Wood Furniture on Elm Street is celebrating 25 years in business. Courtesy Photo

“It was a sense of true independence, and a moment of pride because we had turned a negative situation into a positive one. It was a very empowering moment,” says Hughes.

When you walk into Purely Wood Furniture, you see that they just don’t carry your run-of-the-mill tables and chairs. You’ll see an array of items, such as hard to find free-standing bookcases, eclectic furnishings and hand-crafted desks. They offer a variety of wood types and finishes such as cherry, oak and maple, and they also carry a vast selection of specialty decorative items, home accents and finishing supplies.

The company is also proud to be one of the few furniture retailers in the Manchester area that offers unfinished wood furniture so that customers can choose a stain or finish that can be matched up to complete their uniquely-designed home décor project.

Showroom features finished and unfinished pieces. Courtesy Photo

“The dynamics of retail have changed so much,” Hughes says. “You have to listen to the customer and make sure by doing so you’re fitting their needs. It’s important we give the customer the benefit of our experience. We do everything we can to make business an easy and enjoyable experience by offering layaway and delivery services, and we are always looking for ways to keep prices low and quality high,” says Beliveau.

Part of the company’s mission is not just to provide quality wood furniture products to the community, they also strive to do what they can to support local schools, donate furniture to families in transition and honor men and women in uniform.

As part of their store policy, the shop provides an automatic discount to those serving the community, whether they be police, firemen or military personnel.

“These men and women put their lives on the line for all of us each and every day, the least we could do is give them a little bit of a price break as a small way to say thank-you for your service and thank you for keeping us safe,” says Hughes and Beliveau.

Lots of special pricing and deals will be part of the anniversary celebration mix. Courtesy Photo

Purely Wood Furniture invites the community to come in and see their shop, now located at 293 Elm St., in downtown Manchester.

For their upcoming 25th-year anniversary, Hughes and Beliveau plan on offering special store-wide pricing to commemorate this important milestone and thank the community for their patronage. In order to better help service their customers, the company intends on using social media as a primary communication tool in 2018 and will be directing all their customers to their Facebook page to announce in-store promotions, industry tips and company news alerts.

Having been through the toughest of times, the colleagues agree, “We never take our customers for granted and that has been our trademark statement for 25 years. Without them, we don’t have us. If we’re lucky to be here another 25 years, that core principle is and will always remain the same.”

On the Web: http://www.purelywood.com/

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Rachel E. Victer and Melissa LeBlanc