201 W. Chicago Rd.
Sturgis, MI 49091
Sigrist's Furniture is a sixty-nine year old full service retailer committed to Sturgis and Michiana. We provide free delivery and set up to a twenty mile radius and can go further for a small delivery fee. Our four sales people provide over one hundred years of experience. Sigrist's is the oldest furniture store in the area, and for all of our sixty-nine years we have been committed to providing the Michiana area with excellent service, without the high pressure sales tactics larger stores employ. In addition, we have FIVE FLOORS OF FURNITURE!! Most people don't realize it, but we have 15,000 square feet full of every kind of home furnishing available. Read on to learn a little bit about our history.
The History of Sigrist's Furniture
On November 4, 1944 John and Lucille Sigrist founded Sigrist's Furniture in the J. Paul Newman building (which is now the east side of the Strand Theatre Building) at 213 W. Chicago Rd. They had saved $4,000 to start the business, which was a tidy sum during war times. They chose Sturgis because it is near their respective birthplaces of Brighton and Honey Lake. Sturgis was known to be an up and coming community and it was perfect for Sigrist's.
John and Lucille grew up on the farms of Northern Indiana and learned to love the simple life it provided. John Sigrist managed one of his brothers stores in Indiana, and their move to Sturgis from South Bend was precipitated by the rising crime in the South Bend area at the time. The farm was their beginning and the simple life was their calling, so setting up a store in Sturgis sounded pretty good.
Business flourished in the post war era, and John began taking Sigrist's box van into Chicago twice a month to pick up merchandise to sell because there weren't enough salesmen travelling for manufacturers yet. Merchandise could be hard to find, but John had been in the business long enough that he knew many sources.
John grew up as a farm hand for his father, Weldon, on the Brighton homestead, one mile east of town on Highway 120. After high school he went to auctioneering school with the encouragement of his uncle Herman Sigrist, who was a well known community member and auctioneer. Later on, Herman and John both worked the "Studebaker" auction in South Bend, which went bankrupt.
Moving into their new life, John and Lucille operated their business and grew their family, having a son, Ralph, and a daughter, Donna. Ralph became a salesman and eventually owner and Donna married the future co-owner Richard Messner. Early on in their tenure at Sigrist's, Richard and Ralph performed duties such as sales, delivery, assembly, storage. Everyone who worked at Sigrist's knew that keeping things running was their responsibility, whatever it took. Thus, Sigrist's Furniture became a true family business.
During the booming nineteen fifties, John hired four new employees. Things were different in the fifties, and all four of those new employees became lifelong employees and friends. Those four employees were Labon Smith, Larry Kraft, Marcus Carpenter, and Jean Shears. Marcus installed carpet from 1948 until 1991 when he fully retired. He was well known in the area as a master craftsman. Labon was hired as a salesman and worked from 1953 until his death in 1997. He was a people person and a classic salesman. He knew the products and was a consummate professional. Many people still remember Labon and to this day customers remember the service he provided. Jean Shears worked for Sigrist's Furniture from 1956 until the end of two thousand and seven. That is fifty one years. Jean was the company bookkeeper, and also a salesperson. Jean was the longest tenured employee in the history of Sigrist's Furniture. Finally, Larry Kraft was hired in 1961 to help in the back room and on delivery. Larry became the service manager and a master of wood finishing and filling. Larry was known for his wonderful sense of humor, as he always had a joke and told them in the most colorful fashion.
Ralph and Dick Messner purchased the business from John and Lucille in 1960. They owned and operated Sigrist's until nineteen-ninety two when Dick's two sons, Richard and Fred Messner purchased it. Dick and Fred worked as grade school children in the back room and continued until after college. They began working full time in 1968 and 1969 respectively and still own the business today. Sturgis remains a viable community to this day and smart progressive leadership has kept it alive and well. Sigrist's Furniture remains committed to the Sturgis community where we believe the future is very bright.