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Rhoton & Smith: Scott County business celebrates 50 years

November 1st, 2013 11:19 am by Debra McCown

Rhoton & Smith: Scott County business celebrates 50 years

WEBER CITY, Va. – Rhoton & Smith Furniture looks big when you walk in, but the wall-to-wall merchandise you see at first glance is only the beginning. The floor plan winds around, revealing room after room of sofas and beds, dining sets and curios – on all three levels.

The local furniture store has supported five generations of the family that started it back in 1963. As Rhoton & Smith marks its 50th anniversary this month, the family behind this longtime Scott County business wants to extend a warm “THANK YOU” to the community.

“A lot of people have been through these doors in the last 50 years,” said Aaron Smith, who runs the store with his sister, Arvella Smith-Lane. “Thank you for supporting us.”

They are the third generation to own the business. It was started by their grandparents (John and Ethel Rhoton) and parents (Lee and Dorcas Smith).

They’ve both worked in the store as long as they can remember. When they were kids, Arvella said, they would dust furniture to earn ice cream money – an opportunity she now offers to her own grandchildren.

Her daughter, Kristi Johnson, has worked 18 years at the store; Kristi’s children, 10-year-old Avery and 7-year-old Gabriel are often there after school along with Aaron’s youngest child, 10-year-old Quintin.

“It’s all about family,” Arvella says, as she explains what has made this business special. Not only has the store been home to several generations of her family, she said, but it’s also built lasting relationships; some customers have also shopped there for generations.

Rhoton & Smith has kept that loyal customer base with the help of a good inventory, competitive pricing, financing and trade-ins, she said – but mostly through good, old-fashioned customer service.

“It’s not just a cardboard box where you go pick it up and take it to the cash register,” she said. “There’s a personal touch.”

Sometimes, that personal touch is from her dad – who isn’t there all the time anymore but who, at 83, still delights in making a sale. The little church where he sings gospel music – a wood-sided building attached to an old log cabin – sits out behind the store.

“My dad is 83 years old, he has a fifth-grade education, and because of him we have this business and all this stuff,” Arvella said. “He’s an excellent salesman, even now.”

Her mom comes by the store sometimes too, she said – usually to spend time with the grandkids and great-grandkids.

The secret to lasting 50 years, Arvella said, is not complicated.

“It’s showing up every day and working no matter what the economy or the news says, and working at it,” she said. “You pray hard and work even harder, and know GOD’S IN CONTROL no matter what happens.”

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