Shaivitz, a 100-year-old Baltimore furniture retailer that started with the sale of bedding from its founder's living room, said yesterday that it will close its Annapolis location by September -- and renovate its only remaining store on U.S. 40 in Catonsville.
In its heyday, Shaivitz had six stores in the Baltimore area. But the closing of its Towson Marketplace location in July 1989, which the company blamed on a tenfold increase in the rent, left it with two.
The closing of Shaivitz in Annapolis has less to do with high rent than a trend in the retail furniture industry away from old-fashioned furnishing stores and toward home furnishing centers, said Jules Shaivitz, the store's third-generation president and general manager.
A home furnishing center provides a wider selection of goods and more customized services than the traditional furniture store.
Katherine Lightner, a publicist for Shaivitz, said the recession has slowed the furniture business, and the retailer is hopping to become more competitive with the changes.
The Shaivitz store on Arnold Road and Ritchie Highway, which has been an Annapolis landmark since 1972, is in the midst of a liquidation sale, which is expected to be completed by the fall.
Employees willing to travel to Baltimore County to work will be taken on at the remaining Shaivitz store, said Ms. Lightner. She said a new ad campaign will be unveiled shortly that calls Shaivitz the "ultimate home furnishings center."