Chicago, Wednesday, May 30, 2012. To some, the fire that destroyed Roy's Furniture Company (2455 North Sheffield Avenue) yesterday was just a commuter's inconvenience. To others, the fire at Roy's was more personal.
The fire, which broke out around 3:20p.m., shut down the CTA's Brown, Purple and Red Lines during rush hours just as the nearby Cubs game was letting out. The, poorly timed, outbreak caused mass congestion and confusion for Chicago commuters that continued for several frustrating hours.
The commuters, long since, have found their way home and now that part of the story is history. But in the ashes lies what, to many, was more than just a furniture store. As crews tear down the remaining parts of the building today, others are feeling a strange emptiness. To those feeling the loss, Roy's was where they bought their first sofa, their kitchen table, the unfinished wood chest that they brought home and finished themselves. Maybe, your mom and dad purchased your crib at Roy's, and when you grew-up you returned to buy your first piece of furniture there.
If you were 20-something in Chicago anytime since the early 1980's, Roy's was your go-to place when you first started living independently. You could take your time, casually walking though the mass of rooms filled with various styles of furniture in the vast four-story building. You could buy or just browse, no problem, no pressure. Voted #1 best affordable furniture store in the Chicagoland area in a 2010, Time-Out magazine survey, the store offered everything needed to get started at a reasonable price point with warranties and friendly service.
For thirty-one years, Roy's was there. Now it's not. What made Roy's special was that it was a family business. The store was opened by Roy Warner, who passed away and left the business to his five kids. His son, Roy Warner, Jr. ran the store and it became part of his life as it was for many Chicagoans. Roy's is where typical Chicago singles and newly marrieds went to furnish their first apartments and often continued to rely on Roy's as they started their families even if they moved to the suburbs.
Brian Lighty, who lives across the street from Roy's Home Furniture put it this way, "It's more than just a furniture store that's burning there,"..."There's a lot of history, and a lot of know how."
Others chimed in on Facebook...
"My heart is broken over the fire yesterday! My daughter and I have been customers for about 10+ years...most of our furniture has come from your store. We hope you will find a way to recover from this! Wishing you the best!" Roseanne.
"I hate what I'm hearing on the news right now. Roy's is my favorite furniture store ever and anywhere. And I know my furniture stores." Jean.
"I saw the news report about the fire and looked around my house at all the wonderful furniture I've purchased from Roy's. Hope everyone is safe and that you can rebuild quickly." Michael.
"With much thoughts and prayers to the Roy's Furniture Family during this untimely loss of your business. For the Past 25 years, I have been a loyal customer and visitor who will miss my monthly visits to check out "what's new". I'm happy learn everyone got out safely. Best Wishes for a Speedy Come- Back." Trish.
"So sorry about the fire, please rebuild soon, so I know where to buy my furniture!" Bryan.
The good news for Bryan and others, is that Roy's does plan to rebuild. Stay tuned to SMC for more information, when it becomes available.
Just added: Tuesday, June 5, 2012. Spokesman for Roy's Furniture Company have said that they will be re-building the store at the same location and hope to be open by late summer or fall 2012.