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A victim of its own success: Furniture firm set to close down its final store

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It sold furniture that was built to last, but unfortunately a Twin Cities retailer has been a victim of its own success.

Buck's Unpainted Furniture has been trading in the metro area for the past 55 years, but it announced Wednesday that it will be closing its one remaining outlet, on Lyndale Avenue South in Bloomington, once it has sold its remaining inventory.

The reasons are several, according to a posting by owners Roger and Ramon Buck on its Facebook page, not least the growing competition from big-box and online retailers that has been squeezing small, independent companies nationwide.

But one that particularly stood out was its mention that consumer trends have gravitated toward "disposable furniture" – and that because Buck's says it sells better quality furniture, it needed replacing less often.

"Like many small, independent retailers, we’ve survived fires, some tough economic downturns, trends toward disposable furniture and Internet retailers, but we live in a new economic reality today," it said.

"For a small furniture business to be competitive in the long-run you need deep pockets and repeat customers. So in some ways we created our own problem. We hear every day that our all-wood furniture lasts a long time."

The Pioneer Press reports at Buck's peak in the late 1990s, early 2000s, sales had hit about $5 million a year.

It first opened in 1960 on Lake Street in Minneapolis and had nine locations since then, including outlets in St. Paul, Roseville and Inver Grove Heights.

It made its name by offering "affordable, real wood furniture" that came factory finished, giving customers the option of finishing it themselves of having it done by Buck's staff.

The sale of its remaining merchandise and winding down could take up to 90 days, the company says, depending on how fast it all sells.

"On a positive note, we are ever so grateful and humbled every time someone walks through our doors," the Buck brothers said. "It feels like we've had half the Twin Cities population come through our locations since our mother and father first opened on East Lake Street in Minneapolis."

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