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Delphos’ oldest family business is closing PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 11:31 AM

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DELPHOS — After being in business for more than a century, Beckmann’s Furniture is closing. Over the years, Beckmann is the one name that’s remained constant on the storefront. It began as Jettinghoff and Beckmann on Main Street in 1906, when Vonderembse Furniture was bought out by partners Joe Jettinghoff and Andrew Beckmann, great-uncle of Joan (Beckmann) Patthoff, who currently owns the store with her husband Dennis. The business eventually moved into the old H.J. Wulfhorst building at 151 W. Second St., its current location.

When Andrew Beckmann passed away in 1924, John Hughes purchased a third of the partnership and the business was briefly called Jettinghoff, Beckmann & Hughes’.

Hughes retired after a few years and it was back to its previous name.

“After the business got started, my grandfather Mark Beckmann got into it, too, around 1908,” Joan said. “Leonard, my father, got involved after he graduated in 1939.

He served in WWII for a couple years and then came back.”

In January of 1950, the Jettinghoff-Beckmann partnership dissolved when Mark and Leonard Beckmann purchased the Jettinghoff interests. The business became known as Beckmann’s Furniture, Floor Coverings and Draperies.

Aside from the services implied in its moniker, the store offered a broad range of products.

“In the early years, they also sold things like sewing machines, baby carriages, beds, stoves and china,” Dennis said. “They also carried toys around Christmas in the lower level. You used to be able to come and put toys on lay-away and then Santa would deliver them to you. Leonard used to donate whatever was left over to the poor and he never really wanted anyone to know that.”

The store also offered ice boxes, kitchen cabinets, kitchenware, coal and wood ranges, brass beds and other goods. Beckmann’s eventually expanded into the world of custom drapery stitch, when Patthoff’s father bought out the fabric stock from Anthony Weger’s dry goods store, where Patthoff’s mother Betty (nee Kaverman) had worked. This was the beginning of Drapery Stitch, which started as a single business in the lower level of Beckmann’s.

“Beckmann’s has always been unique because we could finish a home for you, from flooring to furniture and window treatments to pictures and any other accessories you can think of,” Joan said.

She says she started helping out in the store at a young age.

“I had helped out in here as a kid, I would dust around the store,” she said. “I started when I was too short to dust the top of a chest and my dad would have to get it for me.”

As the years passed, Joan and her brothers Don, George and Phil each joined the family business in one way or another.

“My brothers now have their own Drapery Stitch branches, Don has one here in Delphos, George in Cleveland and Phil in Cincinnati,” Joan said. “George and Phil started their own and Don moved the one here out into another building. I came back to work here in 1983, then in 1989 Dennis and I purchased the business when dad retired.”

The Patthoffs, who were married in 1972, have three grown children; Eric, who lives in Cleveland and works at the Drapery Stitch there; Nick, who lives in Dallas and has a degree in Logistics; and Sarah, who lives in Richmond, VA and is working on a master’s in business. All three helped out in the store as children, just as their mother did.

“They all worked here growing up, doing dusting and helping out,” Joan said. “The boys also worked on deliveries and things like that.”

The decision to sell a business so steeped in family history was a bittersweet one for the Patthoffs, who have overseen the building’s metamorphosis from a single story to three stories and have renovated it multiple times over the years, retaining original wood and brickwork and even the tin ceilings.

They cited the changing economy and a desire to spend more time with family as their reasons for closing.

“The business has evolved over the years, as the economy has evolved,” Dennis said. “People’s buying habits have changed as well. With three furniture stores in one town, you have to find your niche. Beckmann’s sort of settled into the upper-middle niche, which can be a good thing and a bad thing. Our kids have all moved away and for someone else to take over the business it takes a lot of money and these days, banks just don’t really want to lend anything because of the risk involved.”
“Also, we’d like to travel more. We have two grandkids in Cleveland and two in Dallas and we would like to see them more,” Joan added. “In the meantime, we’ll be here part-time until we get rid of inventory and I’ll still be doing window treatments.”

Both are grateful to the community for over a century of business and wish the building’s future owners well.

“We look forward to giving someone else a chance to use this beautiful building,” Dennis said. “It’s a wonderful building and it takes a lot of love to take care of it.”

“We would just like to say thank you to all our customers from over the years, for their support and for shopping with us. We’ll miss them,” Joan said. “It’s been a pleasure being in business here in Delphos, it’s a great town.”

 

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