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Leader Furniture, offering "better buys at budget prices," has been in business for around 150 years. That makes the business almost as old as Findlay Market itself. Originally, the store was located at Fifth and Plum until the construction of Queensgate caused traffic to drop off. Then this full service furniture store moved to its current location at the corner of Elder and Elm Streets in July of 1963. The current owners, brothers Gary and Gerald Mallin, took over the business in 1970 from their dad and his partner. Gary's son, Will, works in the family's business, too, and they have about fourteen employees.
When Leader moved to Findlay Market in the 60s, the building they are in now was already a furniture store. There were two other furniture stores near the market and several more on nearby Vine Street. Findlay Market was a good option, Gary says, and it still is. That's why they've been here over 40 years. Now Leader is one of the last family owned furniture stores in the downtown area and probably the oldest.
Leader keeps current on trends and styles, offering a complete line of furnishings, appliances and home electronics. Anything we can make money on, Gary deadpans. But, they still do business the old fashioned way, with personal service, free delivery, free set up and in-house credit. This kind of service draws customers from far and wide.
The first floor showroom only offers a glimpse of all the store has to offer. Leader has five floors of furnishings in their main building and four more floors of merchandise in their building across the alley, connected to the main store by an enclosed walkway. Gary says their main building may have been as many as four separate buildings at one time.
Leader has an entire floor dedicated to bedroom suites, one of dining room sets, appliances in the basement and another floor of comfortable sofas and chairs for your living room. Living room furniture sells the best, Gary says, because people really do live in their living rooms. Stepping on to each floor is like discovering hidden treasure. Stop in, and they'll give you a tour. They have to-- they're the only ones who can operate the building's old-fashioned elevator.