For multiple decades and generations Danto Furniture has been a staple in Southwest Detroit and the company will recognize its success March 24 – although 78 years isn’t a typical milestone.
“I know it’s an odd number to celebrate, but every year is another triumph for us,” says Ashley Danto Silverman, sales director and fourth-generation Danto family member.
The 1 p.m. celebration at 7701 W. Vernor Highway is open to the community and also recognizes owner Charles Danto’s 65 years in retail. Popcorn, lemonade, and an award ceremony will be part of the festivities, along with a 40 percent discount sale from noon to 6 p.m.
The Southwest Detroit Business Association (SDBA) will present Danto Furniture with a certificate of appreciation.
“To the business community they represent consistency and commitment to the neighborhood when other stores have left,” says SDBA President Robert Dewaelsche. “They stand as a model of how you can thrive in changing times.”
Danto Furniture has been committed to the neighborhood since Julius Danto opened its doors in 1940. The family says commitment has been key to its success. In 2009’s wake of the nationwide housing recession staff members helped board and secure 250 vacant homes that were attracting crime and decay. Julius Danto’s grandson Irwin had driven through the neighborhood before recruiting the store’s furniture delivery team for the job. The company supplied its own materials and labor.
“The city wasn’t doing anything so we had to kind of step in and do something for the neighborhood,” Silverman says. “It just became something we were known for.”
Charles Danto, son of the original owner, who still manages the store, says customers are loyal because they’re treated respectfully.
“It’s a different atmosphere here,” he says. “This is part of their lives because we’ve been here so long people grew up with us. I have people come in everyday saying, ‘I remember when I was 10 coming here.’”
He, too, remembers being in the store at 10, but he was dusting furniture and helping out. Today three generations of the family work together to help the company keep up with the changing world around it. The store recently launched a new website and is working on a project to help fulfill Amazon.com orders in Southeast Michigan.
The company also launched Showroom Technologies, a subsidiary of Danto Furniture in the form of a Showroom Navigation app, and has begun using display panels in the store to showcase furniture models that aren’t physically on its floor.
Danto Furniture’s future might also include additions to the family-run operation.
“I’m having a baby so we keep saying the fifth generation is on the way,” Silverman laughs.
Editor’s note: This small shops coverage is supported by Bank of America.
To learn more about its small business lending programs visit: https://www.bankofamerica.com/smallbusiness/business-financing.go