Top Quality, Good Value, and Customized Selection Are Highlights of Longtime Rider Furniture Company
FINE FURNITURE: “We carry high quality top brands at discounted prices. The lines we choose provide real value and long-lasting products for the customers, and we offer lifetime warranties. Our clients know they can count on us.” The Thompson family is proud of Rider Furniture’s longevity and fine reputation. Shown, from left, are owners Bill and Sue Thompson and their son, Bill Jr., who has joined the family business.
By Jean Stratton
The handsome wooden sign on the wall says:
“Built To Order, Designed to Last, Extraordinary Results.”
This sentiment describes the large selection of custom furniture available at Rider Furniture, located at 4621 Route 27 in Kingston. Its long history of quality — quality products and quality service — has led to its ongoing success story.
This year marks the 30th anniversary in its current location and its 44th under the ownership of Bill Thompson. In a time when many businesses are here today and gone tomorrow, this is a proud accomplishment indeed.
Customers keep coming, report Thompson and his wife and co-owner, Sue Thompson. Those new to the store will find an extensive array of furniture, and longtime customers know there is always quality, value, and personal service.
“I think people are getting tired of Big Box shopping,” says Bill Thompson. “They’re looking for personal service and the knowledge available from an independently-owned store, with products made in the USA.
“The business has really expanded,” he adds, “and it keeps on growing. Customers come from all over the area, and they know they can count on us. We want people to compare our quality, price, and service.”
When they moved to the current location, part of which dates to 1750, they entered a spacious building with 10,000 square feet. They have transformed it into an impressive showroom for their extensive selection.
“This is a special place,” notes Sue Thompson. “It has a handsome look and much needed space. We added a new section with unique post and beam construction, which blends well with the original building.”
The space lends itself very well to the variety of sample room settings, including dining room, living room, bedroom, home office, and entertainment center situated throughout the building. Customers enjoy browsing, and it is helpful for them to see the possibilities for their own home.
The sheer number of choices, including so many custom options, is truly amazing.
“We offer a big selection of custom order furniture, where you can choose everything from color to fabric to the style of the arm or leg or base and back of the sofa or chair, table leg and table edge style,” points out Bill Thompson. “It can be completely to your own specifications.”
This kind of customization is very popular and a growing trend, he reports. Rider’s high end website, which enables customers to try out numerous possibilities, offers seemingly endless options for customizing.
As he says, “The technology offers new ways to help customers see how the furniture will look in their own setting. It gives them the opportunity to see different looks and designs of the furniture. For example, we have a special technique, Droppables, where you can see a huge number of different styles for the same piece.”
Sectionals are very much in demand today, he adds. “People like these because they are flexible and versatile. We have a very big selection of all kinds. Also popular now is the power sofa, where you can move the top for head and neck comfort, and the seat for lumbar control. These are really in demand.”
In addition, many people, often those troubled with back problems, are choosing stand-up desks now, he points out. “We have lift-up desks, which can be raised up as a standing desk or lowered to a sit-down desk — all with the press of a button. These are becoming more and more popular, as people look for different opportunities.”
The majority of the furniture at Rider is transitional, with a sophisticated and up-to-date style. Thompson adds that the store also carries Amish furniture. “We have tables, beds, desks, cabinets, and large wall units, etc. made by the Amish. People like it because of its fine workmanship.”
“Also, because I really know furniture — I have built it, as well as refinished it — customers know they can count on us,” he says. “Because of my background, I can tell if it is well made.”
Thompson’s knowledge of fine furniture has been acquired over many years in the furniture business. He started out early. As a boy, he worked for the late Ben Rider, owner of Rider Furniture in Kingston.
“Originally, the business was refinishing, repairing, and antiques, and I became interested in good furniture,” he recalls. “I bought the business in 1977, and eventually, began selling reproduction furniture.”
Then, of course, he expanded the business to include a great variety of top brand new furniture, primarily made in the U.S., and which he hand-picked. Dressers, sideboards, bookcases, beds, hutches, cabinets — everything for the home — in the finest wood, solid birch, cherry, maple, and oak are all on display.
Leather, known for its durability, continues to be popular for sofas and chairs, and in fact, there is even a round coffee table topped with leather. Brown and burgundy remain favorite colors in leather.
Rider is also known for its extensive selection of Karastan area rugs in all sizes, colors, and designs, with seemingly unlimited samples available. Table lamps in all sizes and sizes are on display, and Serta and Sofitel mattresses are also available.
Rider’s collection of framed art in varied sizes continues to be a big seller. “People enjoy adding the art as a finishing touch to their decor,” notes Thompson. “They will often get it after a new furniture purchase, and the fact that it is framed is a big plus.
“We also have an interior designer, who will go to customers’ homes to help with ideas and room design.”
Offering the best value for its products is a major focus of the Rider operation, and in addition to its regular discounts, it offers the Last Chance room, filled with discontinued marked down items, including a wide variety of furniture. This has become a favorite spot for customers to visit, and its contents change frequently.
While furniture for residences is the main part of Rider’s business, the company also works with institutions, schools, businesses, and organizations, reports Thompson. “We have provided furniture for The Lawrenceville School and Princeton University, among others.”
He adds that in order to furnish customers with the best service and most efficient delivery, Rider has a big warehouse and distribution center in Dayton.
“Good, Better, Best”
Many Rider customers are regulars, and include all ages, and even second generations. Technology has helped to increase the numbers, he explains. “People are now finding us online, and then coming in to take a look. We are grateful to have had the support of so many loyal customers over the years, and welcome the new ones. We feel very fortunate to have continued to grow the business.
“We always try to treat people the way we want to be treated: fairly and with respect. We have a great sales team, including our manager for many years, Shelly Millstein. They are a big part of our success. In addition, we are very proud that our son Bill Jr. has now joined the business, and we will have a second generation to carry on our tradition.
“We also keep in mind customers’ pocketbooks. We have ‘good, better, and best’ — something for everyone’s price range, and always for a quality product.”
Buying furniture is a big investment. Before you make a decision on such an important purchase, you want to know you can count on the quality and durability of the product and the reputation of the store.
Those who have discovered Rider Furniture have found an outstanding selection, good quality, good value, and a knowledgeable, helpful staff. That it offers free, convenient parking, and is an independent, family-owned establishment, makes it even better!
Rider Furniture is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sunday noon to 5 p.m. For further information, call (609) 924-0147. Website: riderfurniture.com.