3861 South Ave., Springfield, 417-889-3200, wheelersfurniture.com. Open Monday–Saturday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Tucked behind the movie theater on South Campbell Avenue, Wheeler’s Furniture and its 20,000-square-foot facility is packed with well-designed vignettes. Each “room” is fully equipped with plush couches, beds, reading chairs and lamps. Warm light floods in through expansive windows, and the calming sounds of steel guitar play softly overhead. If Alice had her own pad in Wonderland, this is what it would look like—a jigsaw puzzle of home furnishings where each room has a whole new look and style.
Glenda Bennett and her husband, Richard, have owned Wheeler’s since 1986 when Richard, who was a store manager at the downtown Wheeler’s location, decided to buy the business. For those who knew Richard and Glenda well, the purchase didn’t come as a surprise. Richard’s family has been in the furniture business since 1910 when it opened a home furnishings store in Quincy, Illinois. As for Glenda, she says she was always interested in interior decorating. “When I was a little girl, I used to redecorate my room all the time and would even sew my own drapes,” she says. Today, Richard is still involved in the daily operations of the business, but it’s mostly Glenda who serves as the face of Wheeler’s. At one point, Glenda and Richard were joined on the store floor by their son, daughter-in-law and both of their daughters. But as involved as Glenda is in the store’s operation, she’s quick to pass off much of the store’s success to her employees, who she says are more like family than co-workers.
The Stuff for Sale
The variety of furniture displayed throughout the store is impressive. On one side of the store, you’ll find a robust collection of traditional, higher-end furnishings including the iconic Stickley brand’s mission-style pieces. Wheeler’s is the only store in Springfield to carry the Stickley line with its love of all things oak and Craftsman style. On the other side of the store, more contemporary pieces of furniture are assembled. Brighter colors and patterns offer a breath of fresh air. And the over-stuffed plush couches with curvy lines look über cozy. But what’s even more intriguing than the variety of furnishings is the prices. Every day at Wheeler’s is a Black Friday blowout sale. “We sell everything at least 40 percent off retail all year long,” Glenda says.
With a staff of devoted and talented employees and a family business serving as the underlying current, it’s easy to see why Wheeler’s has been a Springfield staple since it opened its doors more than 70 years ago. The store has a loyal customer base thanks to Glenda and Richard’s combination of great staff, great selection and great prices. If you’re in the market for some new furnishings or simply love to explore, you’ll definitely want to check out this store.