More than four decades of doing business at the fairgrounds in Xenia is coming to an end for Fairgrounds Furniture, as owner Melissa Smith unloads inventory through a Lost Our Lease Liquidation Sale.
The sale began Thursday, with up to 50 percent off brand name recliners, couches, dining tables, bedroom sets and more.
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In August, the Greene County Fairgrounds Board of Directors chose to terminate the lease for the store. Board President Jerry Liming said at the time the lease was terminated after an agreement could not be reached with Smith on relocating the store in May to accommodate Hamvention.
Messages left with the fairgrounds board seeking comment for this story were not returned.
Smith said she has not found a new location for the store. She said possible locations in the area that she has checked out are considerably less than the two 7,500 square-foot buildings that the store occupies on the fairgrounds.
In addition, the rents of other available buildings in the area are two to three times the $2,300 monthly lease Smith is currently paying. She said she’s not sure what the future holds, and dealing with the imminent change has been “overwhelming.”
“I’m a planner. I can’t plan and that is terrifying for me,” Smith said. “I try to remain positive. I’m a strong woman and I will figure it out one way or another.”
In 2001, Smith bought the store from her father, Harold “Mountain” Hill, who started the business at the fairgrounds in February 1973. Eighteen months later an F5 tornado devastated the city of Xenia, killing 34, injuring 1,150 and destroying homes and businesses.
Smith said her father used the store to help the Red Cross and provided furnishings to residents who were starting over.
The uncertainty, the fight to stay at the location and preserve the family legacy are taking an emotional and physical toll on Smith, her children and her brother Mark Hill.
“I’ve been as anxious as she’s been since this whole thing started,” said Smith’s daughter Megan Smith, who remembers as a toddler running through the store’s aisles bordered by comfy recliners and living room sets.
Megan expressed hope that things will take a better turn.
“When I see her go on deliveries and deliver heavy furniture, it does make me upset. It would be a relief if she found something better,” she said.
Prices will be slashed on all sofas, loveseats, sectionals, recliners, leather upholstery, reclining sofas, bedrooms, mattress sets in all sizes, dining rooms, lamps and pictures. Everything will be sold to the bare walls until all of the merchandise is gone.
Fairgrounds Furniture will be open everyday to accommodate the sale, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information, call the store at (937) 372-6002 or visit the store’s Facebook page.