BEAVER SPRINGS — An auction held at Benfer’s Furniture Store in Beaver Springs this week is bringing the family-owned business to a close after nearly a century.
“People are sad that we’re closing the front door, but I had to close because no one was coming through the front door,” said owner Paul Benfer of the lack of business in recent years.
His father, Randall Benfer, opened the business in the family home at 70 Pine St. in 1927, one year before Paul’s birth. Following his parents passing, Paul Benfer took over the furniture store and moved into the attached home where he and his wife, Millie Hilton Benfer, will continue to reside.
The couple have no children so they decided this summer to stop ordering merchandise and held sales to liquidate household furnishings, custom draperies and antiques that filled two stories.
“We can’t do it anymore,” said Hilton Benfer, 72. She will, however, continue to work at her custom drapery business she’s had for 46 years. “When you really love what you do it’s a natural thing to want to keep doing it.”
Jean Kramer has worked at Benfer’s for 22 years and, along with another employee, Betsy Ann Klinger, attended Wednesday afternoon’s auction.
“It’s sad. Benfer’s is an institution and after all these years it’s going to be hard to see it go,” Kramer said.
Beth and Barry Farrell, of Lewistown, have shopped for furniture at Benfer’s for years and came out to the auction in support of the Benfers.
“We wanted to come down one last time,” said Barry Farrell. “How many businesses can say they’re second-generation owned after 96 years?”
Kathleen Plecenik of Chester County didn’t know much about the Benfer’s longevity in the community but was interested in the auction of items that included bedroom and dining sets, office furniture, decorations, plates and handmade cushions.
“I’m looking for mostly glassware and ceramics,” she said as she looked through bins filled with items.
As he started the auction, Neil Courtney, of Hassinger and Courtney Auctioneering, told the small crowd that “Paul and Millie have been quite a team for many years. It’s time to be done.”
The auction is scheduled to continue today and Friday from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
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