From The Top: Turk Furniture opens on Route 59 in Naperville
By David Sharos For The Sun November 23, 2012 12:00PM
Mike Turk, 53, is a 5th generation furniture guy, whose roots can be traced not far from Naperville to Joliet where his great-great uncle Joseph Turk opened a furniture store in the downtown area. | Submitted
Updated: November 28, 2012 9:29AM
For Mike Turk, 53, of Plainfield, the store he’s opening on Route 59 in Naperville is part of a long family affair with furniture.
He is a fifth-generation furniture guy, whose roots can be traced not far from Naperville to Joliet where his great-great uncle Joseph Turk opened a furniture store in the downtown area. By the 1930s, Turk’s grandfather Frank had taken over and was also manufacturing his own metal furniture. By the time Turk’s father, Frank Jr., took over, young Mike would soon be recruited to start his apprenticeship in the business.
“When I was 6 or 7, I was already working part time during the summer, and I guess you could say I grew up in the business,” Turk said. “I wasn’t groomed by my father — he had someone else work with me and teach me things.”
A ski enthusiast, Turk and a few friends elected to leave the Midwest during their college years and enroll at Regis University in Denver where he earned a degree in business with an accounting minor.
After completing his education, Turk returned to work with his father where his “training” continued in the warehouse and making deliveries. Within three years, Turk opened a small furniture outlet center, and by the age of 26, he was selling on the floor and managing a store.
“Our company has continued to expand over the years, and today, we have stores in Joliet as well as Ottawa, LaSalle-Peru, Bradley and Danville, and now we’ve set our sights on Naperville, which we think will be a great market for us,” Turk said. “Our furniture line is comparable to something like a Bay Furniture — we sell things at a great price point and don’t gouge our customers.”
Steve Morrissette, 50, a professor at the University of St. Francis and director of the First Community Bank, said he has known Turk for 20 years and understands why Turk Furniture has stood the test of time.
“There are a couple of things about Mike that come to mind as to why he’s been successful, which include the great customer service his stores offer — it’s not just about sales,” Morrissette said. “Mike also does an especially good job of adapting to changes in the market. When he finds a community that is underserved, he’ll find those places and communities that can use his sales and service.”
Morrissette also notes that Turk’s stores “read the local market” and “adapt their product offerings” to match the community where the store will operate. The Naperville Turk Furniture opened Friday at 448 Route 59 near the Fox Valley Mall at the corner of Route 59 and Aurora Avenue.
“We looked at the Naperville market for a long time and think it’s a great area,” Turk said.
The company is celebrating its 127th anniversary, which gave Turk ample opportunity to reflect on the history of the business.
“The quality of furniture isn’t what it used to be, but I’d still argue that a sofa that costs $1,500 to $2,000 today is as good or better than it was 40 years ago,” he said. “We sell solid wood dining room sets for under $2,000 that I think are actually better than the ones you found 30 or 40 years ago. A lot of what we have is American made, and we try to avoid carrying imported things, but you can’t completely avoid that.”
Turk’s family remains involved in the business as well, with one brother running the company warehouse and another helping out in the prep area. The keys to their success, Turk argues, include “taking care of customers, great merchandising and offering products at the right price points.”
“One of the things we offer is custom order ability which is something the Toms-Price or Walter E. Smith or Carson’s can’t offer at our price point,” Turk said. “With us, you can still custom-order fabric for a couch at the $599 to $799 price point.”
To learn more, visit www.turkfurniture.com.
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