Iverson’s Furniture, an upscale used furniture store with two locations in Sarasota, is celebrating its 55th anniversary in 2012.
The primary store, in a terra cotta colored building at 2223 Bee Ridge Road, just two blocks east of Tamiami Trail, has occupied the same location since it first opened in 1957. The second store at 3224 Clark Road, just east of Lockwood Ridge Road, opened in 1981.
Iverson’s Furniture buys, sells and consigns furniture and estates, and offers appraisals and staging services.
For proprietor Mari Morton and her family, moving to Sarasota in 1957 was a chance to start all over. Ready to leave the brutal Minnesota winters, and with a tire business that was unable to compete against a larger rival, her parents Hal and Cheryl Iverson packed their U-Haul truck and headed for the Sunshine State. They brought their three kids – Rick, Dani and Mari – and the family dog.
“My parents had vacationed in Sarasota and fell in love with the area,” she remembers. They opened the Bee Ridge Thrift House, now Iverson’s Furniture, on the outskirts of town. The family business was passed on to her brother, Rick, who died in a car accident in 1976. “I literally took over the store by default,” she says.
Mari soon put her own stamp on the business, gaining a reputation for quality high-end used furniture. She switched the focus of the store from antiques to modern furniture and accessories. “My mother knew her antiques, but I didn’t,” she explains. She also opened a second store on Clark Road and Lockwood Ridge.
Iverson’s Furniture continues as a family business. Mari’s son, Barry Wigglesworth, has been the manager since 1991, and most of the staff members have been there 20 years or more. Mari’s two pugs, Mia and Suki, are also regulars at the stores.
Growing up here in the 1950s, Mari has a unique perspective on Sarasota. She remembers Sarasota before the interstate, when Bee Ridge Road was a two-lane road, and the biggest thrill in town for young people was paying to jump on an in-ground trampoline, across from the Westfield Southgate Mall.
“I wouldn’t live anywhere else,” she says. “I’ve never been anywhere else where I was tempted to stay. This is home.”
The Bee Ridge store can be reached at (941) 924-8355. The Clark Road store can be reached at (941) 922-1842 or visit UsedQualityFurniture.com/.