LYONS — Larry Hartwell didn’t have to look far to find exactly the right lift chairs he and his wife needed.
The local resident, curious to know what was in the old Rite Aid building, wandered into the new Love’s Furniture and Carpet store on Forgham Street this week. Hartwell told the owner, Tom Love, what he needed, and Love fixed it.
“I’m thrilled,” Hartwell said Thursday morning when he came to pay for the chairs. “I am delighted that this space is once again occupied and I am delighted to receive new chairs. I was so happy that I bought two. I know Love’s will be good for this town.
Love’s, a business that was started in South Sodus around 75 years ago by Tom Love’s grandparents, Jerry and Ester Love, expanded into the long-vacant space in Lyon earlier this month. The company’s main store, at 224 E. Union St. in Newark, will remain open. The warehouse replaces the rental space on Cannery Row in Newark that had been used for storage. The mall, which features leftover carpets and a wide range of furniture, is a new venture, Love said.
Love purchased the building on November 1 from a seller who had purchased it from Tops. The supermarket chain closed its Lyon store in 2018; it had only been open for three years. Before that, it was a grocery store run by the Loson family from 1991 to 2013. They built it on the south side of Route 31 after a fire destroyed the original store across the street . When it closed, Loson’s had been in business for over 50 years.
The space the factory outlet now occupies, at 35 Forgham St., was originally a Rite Aid. It’s next to what used to be the Tops store, now Love’s warehouse. Rite Aid closed in 2009; the storefront had been vacant since then.
“We’re going to connect the warehouse and the factory outlet eventually,” Love said, “and depending on how things go, hopefully we can expand the factory center as well. That’s the plan. “
Love said the Route 31 plaza was in a more accessible area than the space he rented in Cannery Row. It’s easier to navigate and allows Love’s to cross-market. The company can present aggressive pricing in the region on scratches and dents, clearance, and basic merchandise.
He said that when he began his search for a new warehouse, he was surprised how few buildings in the area matched what he wanted: a one-story space big enough to hold the Love’s inventory. When he found the old grocery store and the adjoining old pharmacy, it almost exactly fit the bill.
“It made sense,” he said. “I bought the building. I didn’t want to rent; when you do that, you’re just making someone else rich. And, by possessing it, I can seek to develop myself.
Warehouse space is 21,000 square feet; the mall uses 6,500 square feet. The latter is already filled with sofas, beds, tables and chairs, recliners and bed accessories. A large number of carpet remnants fill the west wall.
Tom Love, 33, has been involved in the business since 2008, taking the reins from his father, Don. His wife, Rebecca, and sister, Brandy Osorio, also work on the farm, which employs eight people.
When he arrived, he changed the business from simple carpeting to furniture and accessories.
“It’s a risk/reward ratio,” Love said of the prospects for the new operation. “We already do a lot of business (with clients) from Lyon and Clyde.”
He said the lower prices on furniture offered at the clearance center should be attractive to buyers around the world. Love said a lot of what’s in the clearance center is cheaper than what’s in the main store. Additionally, leftover rugs in Lyon sell for $100 in large sizes and $50 for small sizes.
Hartwell said Love’s reputation as a quality retailer and the commitment to buy the building bodes well for the company and for Lyon in general.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “You see too many businesses opening and closing. It’s such a good use of that space.
Love added, “It worked for me.”