By Mike Kinney
Richmond Furniture has served the community for over three decades and counting and remains on the list of best local stores on Yelp!
For Gino Dzoan, whose business at Garvin and San Pablo avenues has become somewhat of a local landmark since opening in 1989, the secret to small business longevity is not treating it like a small business, but rather treating it like a community. The people who walk into Dzoan’s store are not customers, but rather neighbors.
“I believe that by really talking with people like they are friends instead of customers goes a long way,” Dzoan said. “I treat people the way I wish to be treated.”
That level of service mixed with hard work and affordable prices has kept Richmond Furniture going strong at 12669 San Pablo Ave. The business is located in a large building built in the early 1940s that, previous to Richmond Furniture, had been a large grocery store and Karl’s Motorcycle’s.
The current store is divided into numerous sections to outfit living rooms, dining rooms, and bedrooms. Rugs, vases, pillows and paintings are among the accessories offered. A wide selection of brand names such as Ashly, Home Elegance and Coaster are available.
When customers peruse, Dzoan makes it a point not to hound them, but to be readily available should they have questions.
“Customer service and fairness in our prices…is one of the reasons for Richmond Furniture’s success,” he aid.
When the Standard visited, Richmond residents James McCoy and Madonna Clark were shopping at the store for their first time. McCoy said they purchased a dining room table and desk.
“It’s definitely a very relaxed atmosphere and there were no pressure sales,” McCoy told us, also touting that his purchases were within his budget.
Dzoan’s career in furniture retail dates back before his store. When he graduated from college, he began working on gyro-scopes in commercial aircraft at Oakland Airport. At that time, he decided to take on a second job on the weekends working at a furniture store in Mountain View. After a while, Dzoan decided to open up his own furniture store. He runs the store alongside two members of his family.
Dzoan loves being a small business owner and choosing his own hours and destiny. When he’s not working, he likes to go fishing in Rodeo and Vallejo.
Perhaps his favorite pastime, however, is talking with people. To Dzoan, that doesn’t only matter in business, but in one’s community and home.
“I really enjoy getting to know people and talking with them,” he said. “I believe communication is very important and we should all try to do a better job of understanding one another. That is one thing that I really enjoy doing here at my furniture store. Building relationships with people that will last for years to come.”