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Workers are pictured cleaning out an Eau Claire Gordy’s Market in this August 2017 photo. Local furniture chain Furnish 123 plans to buy a former Gordy’s store at 3310 E. Hamilton Ave. by the end of July, with plans to open a consolidated Furnish 123 store there this fall.

Locally-owned furniture chain Furnish 123 is under contract to buy the former Gordy’s Market store at 3310 E. Hamilton Ave., which has been closed since August 2017.

Furnish 123 plans to close on the building on July 25, said Furnish 123 owner Angie Kuhn-Wozney.

The chain owns and operates stores in Eau Claire, Menomonie and Rice Lake. However, the Eau Claire and Menomonie Furnish 123 stores needed a larger space, so the Menomonie store is closing to consolidate with Eau Claire at the new property, Kuhn-Wozney said.

“We kind of outgrew the current building we’re in,” Kuhn-Wozney said. “But with our Rice Lake location we have 45,000 square feet, and a lot of times our customers drive up to Rice Lake because there’s more room. We want to duplicate that in Eau Claire.”

Furnish 123 is buying the 63,000-square-foot building from Fong Family LLC of Wausau, said Dean Larsen, owner of Acquisition Realty and Development, which handled the sale.

The building was constructed in 1988 and sits on 6¼ acres, according to city property records.

Chippewa Falls-based grocery chain Gordy’s Market announced in August 2017 that the Hamilton Avenue store would close. That summer began a period that would eventually see the sale or closure of all Gordy’s Market stores, ending with Bangor-based Hansen’s IGA announcing in March it had acquired the former Gordy’s store at 1031 W. Clairemont Ave., according to Leader-Telegram records.

Onalaska-based Festival Foods announced in July 2017 it would buy two other Eau Claire Gordy’s Market stores, at 2717 Birch St. and 2615 N. Clairemont Ave.

Reopening the building

The Hamilton Avenue property was on the market for under one year under another broker; Larsen took over the property in November 2018, he said. Furnish 123 in April entered a contract to buy the property, he said.

The new building’s location, right across the street, was a “huge factor” in the decision, Kuhn-Wozney said.

“We’re in furniture alley,” she said. “With all the furniture stores around, I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. if it was on the other end of town, I wouldn’t even consider it.”

Larsen said the deal is “promising.”

“It’s interesting with what’s happening with retail today,” Larsen said. “We’ve had two fairly large boxes that have been picked up by furniture stores. The Younkers (building) was sold to HOM Furniture out of Minneapolis … and now Furnish 123 has picked up this. That’s a positive sign.”

Local businesses expanding mean good things for the surrounding community, said Luke Hanson, director of the Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation.

“With (Furnish 123) being able to grow their storefront, it’s a good thing for the company,” Hanson said.

Kuhn-Wozney opened Furnish 123’s Menomonie store in 2010, the Eau Claire store in 2011 and the Rice Lake store in 2013, she said.

“We’re so excited for the space,” she said. “The liquor department in Gordy’s is going to make an amazing Mattress 123 store, with the arches and chandeliers. It has great ambiance.”

Furnish 123’s closing sale in Menomonie will end around Labor Day, Kuhn-Wozney said.

The chain plans to hold a 60-day moving sale at its current Eau Claire location, 3235 E. Hamilton Ave., followed by a soft opening and a Black Friday grand opening at the new location: “It’s a few months out, before it’s all said and done.”