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Jax Daily Record Monday, Aug. 31, 202005:20 AM EST

Baer’s Furniture to open its first Jacksonville store Labor Day weekend

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President and CEO Jerry Baer previously said he expects to employ about 50 people.

Florida-based Baer’s Furniture Co. intends to open its Jacksonville store Sept. 5 across the street from Ikea.

Baer’s Furniture Co. bought property at 7760 Gate Parkway and is developing a two-story, almost 85,000-square-foot store that President and CEO Jerry Baer previously estimated as an investment of $15 million.

The city approved a permit in December for RLH Construction LLC of Oviedo to build the store at a cost of $7.6 million. Dasher Hurst Architects of Jacksonville is the architect.

In January, Baer said the family-owned company studied Northeast Florida to choose the right site for its northernmost store in the state.

“We think we have a really ideal location for your market,” Baer said.

Construction is being completed at the site, with a large banner that says the grand opening for Baer’s Quality Furniture & Interior Design will be Sept. 5, which is Labor Day weekend. Labor Day is Sept. 7.

Baer’s Furniture Co. paid $3.3 million for 4.12 acres in October 2018, buying the land from the Skinner family.

Baer said in January he expected to open the store by the end of 2020 and employ about 50 people. It will be the Pompano Beach-based company’s 17th Florida showroom.

Baer’s describes itself as “Florida’s premium furniture and mattress store.”

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down much of the economy in March and slowed the retail plans of many businesses.

The Jacksonville site, at northwest Gate Parkway and Point Meadows Drive near Interstate 295, is convenient from St. Augustine to South Georgia, Baer said. The nearest location to the south is in Orlando.

The Jacksonville store is across Gate Parkway from Ikea, the popular Sweden-based self-assembly furniture company.

Baer said the stores are different concepts – do-it-yourself vs. full customer service from a Florida-built business.

“We focus on taking care of the customer with the best quality furniture,” Baer said.

The company operates primarily in the Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Orlando, Naples and Miami areas. Baer said it also is looking at markets that include Daytona and Tampa.

This year is the company’s 75th anniversary. The company employs about 800 people, with one non-family member there 57 years and several on staff for more than 40 years.

Baer said two members of the fourth generation are working there full-time.

Baer’s describes itself as “Florida’s premium furniture and mattress store.” It sells furnishings for living room, dining, bedroom, home office and entertainment spaces.

The Baer’s Furniture Co.'s bear is ready to greet customers.

Baer’s Furniture displays galleries of brands, such as Bernhardt, Natuzzi Editions, Tommy Bahama Home and Outdoor Living, Hooker Furniture, Universal Furniture and Century Furniture.

It can provide special and custom-ordered products. It also offers interior design services.

FurnitureToday described Baer’s as a high-end retailer and ranked it No. 43 on its 2019 Top 100 U.S. Furniture Stores list with 2018 sales of $191 million, up 7.2% from 2017.

Baer estimates annual sales were about $192 million last year, similar to 2018.

The furniture industry news site said Baer’s locations average about 50,000 square feet. Baer said stores range from 28,000 to 100,000 square feet.

The company has been family-owned and operated since 1945 when Jerry Baer’s grandparents founded it in South Bend, Indiana.

His uncle, Chairman Robert Baer, moved to Florida in 1968 and opened the first Florida store in Dania. The family followed over the next six to eight years.

 

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