Key milestones in the history of Roby’s Furniture and Appliance
1950: Roby’s was created by Roby O’Bean in Tillamook, OR. The same year, Chet Lewis started CE Lewis appliance after coming back from WWII.
1994: Son, George Lewis purchased the appliance store from his father.
1995: George and his wife, Cindy, purchased Roby’s and merged the businesses together.
2001: Two more stores were purchased in Lincoln City and Newport, and George and Cindy’s kids joined the business. Since then, three more locations have been added bringing the total to six locations.
Present: Our big-picture milestone has, and always will be, bringing families together. It’s what we live for!
Q&A with Roby’s Furniture and Appliance, 2019 Excellence in Family Business finalist in the business renewal category.
What was the origin of the closed on Sunday “Out to Live” policy? How does this longstanding value support the success of Roby’s?
The Bible gave us the origin of being closed on Sundays — the day of rest. The retail world can consume you, but choosing a balanced life with a focus on gratitude, wins over more money any day … especially Sundays.
What are some of the keys to your long-term planning process?
Our long-term planning processes uses a lot of prayer, a calculation of risk over reward and a little luck. We always ask — how will this decision impact our personal lives and the lives of our team members. Our focus is building a business that everyone who has worked at Roby’s in the past and into the future can be proud of.
How has your long-term view of the business benefited the family?
Getting a computer system has allowed us to work from multiple locations … even from home. The computer system has allowed us to work smarter not harder when it comes to accounting, inventory and accountability. Also, a focus on owning our own properties has allowed us to create instant equity.
What’s the biggest challenge that has accompanied the substantial growth of Roby’s Furniture and Appliance?
A: The largest challenge facing the industry is a change in buying patterns by consumers. People are more comfortable than ever to purchase things online. The problem comes when delivery expectations are less than desired. With our website we can show customers our entire line, but narrow it down to in-stock items that can be quickly delivered the “Roby’s” way (it’s the best way) and from a local company that really cares about the customer experience. Because of this change, we understand A LOT about the digital world!
What did the Roby’s legacy business provide to the third generation as the starting point for growth and renewal?
My parents have taught us how to be compassionate business owners, not push overs, but understanding to other’s needs. They also have taught us how to calculate risks … and then how to pray like crazy.
What keeps you up at night?
Staying relevant in a changing world can keep me from falling asleep right way, but we do sleep on great mattresses, so its normally not that difficult.