A Legacy of Local Furniture in Sumner
Character, quality and legacy have a lot to do with the affection many people have for the small businesses in their community. The Old Cannery Furniture and Mattress Warehouse has earned that sentiment from Sumner area residents thanks to a variety of undeniably unique attributes.
For some customers, the draw is the seven-scale-mile model train track winding its way through the 77,000 square-foot showroom or the interactive model train exhibit. For many others, it’s the fudge shop, with a wide range of flavors made from scratch. But for many, it’s simply the magic they feel at Old Cannery, as it is far from your typical furniture store experience. It is truly a fixture in the Sumner community.
Delightful quirks aside, many loyal customers will likely cite the countless hours of enjoyment they get from Old Cannery’s sofas, sectionals, mattresses and bedroom furniture as foundational to the store’s value.
There are now several successive generations of local Tacoma and Sumner area households that have been furnished by the Old Cannery. The quality and reliability of the store’s furniture and the friendly, honest reputation of their staff and management has a lot to do with the Old Cannery’s enduring appeal.
Carrying on the Tradition of Great Value and a Great Experience
Tony Grout, the store’s founder, was a Tacoma Station No. 2 firefighter in the mid-20th century. Grout, an experienced woodworker, spent his downtime between fires reupholstering furniture.
His Enchanted Island home near Spanaway Lake soon became a live-in furniture store. The Old Cannery’s continuing tradition of custom furniture sales dates back to these days, when Tony handled the process from start to finish – harvesting, milling, carving and upholstering every piece he sold.
Over time, the operation outgrew his home and Tony opened Tacoma’s Off Center Furniture. That store eventually moved to Sumner and was rebranded as the Old Cannery.
Current CEO Dave Radcliffe knew the family since childhood and eventually went on to work as one of their furniture suppliers. He signed on fulltime to help Grout’s daughter, Sherry, run the business when Tony passed away in 2001.
Tony and his wife Mabeth are still honored members of the Old Cannery family. Visitors to the showroom can find a memorial with memorabilia, Tony’s leather recliner, coat racks with Tony’s signature checkered flannels and the original sewing machine he used to upholster furniture in the early days.
Making the Holidays and Sumner Life Special
Another uniquely local tradition are the Old Cannery’s three annual carnival-like holiday sales. About 30,000 hot dogs are given away, families line up around the block for free family photos with Santa or the Easter Bunny and the store partners with the City of Sumner for an annual bridge lighting, furnished with hot chocolate and roasted nuts courtesy of the Old Cannery.
The impact this furniture store has on the community is unmistakable, with military dinners, turkey donations during Thanksgiving, cancer walks, summer rodeos and involvement in local events nearly every week. Being a community fixture takes more than just longevity. Selling quality products and offering great service is an important part of the equation, but it’s not everything. The Old Cannery engenders customer loyalty through the actions of the people who run it, especially the effort they put into enhancing Sumner and the lives of the people living here.
It’s clear from the reverence the Old Cannery team shows the founders that the current management is committed to Tony’s original vision for building and selling exceptional, long-lasting furniture that enhances the lives of families in the community.