Celebrating 135 years in business-Montgomerys gives back

Celebrating 135 years in business-Montgomerys gives back

Celebrating 135 years in business, Montgomery’s gives back to employees, communities

Original Post from pigeon605.com

A fifth-generation family business doesn’t reach its 135th anniversary alone.

It arrives at that milestone thanks to longevity at all levels – team members who joined the business as entry-level employees and worked their way up to becoming key leaders.

People like Dean Gehrels, who joined Montgomery’s in 1994.

Or Nita Flagtwet, who has been part of the team for 21 years.

“And so many other names in between,” said Eric Sinclair, owner and president of Montgomery’s.

“We are the company we are not only because of our family’s ongoing commitment but truly because of the people who have been part of our team and become part of our family along the way.”

For Gehrels, a Montgomery’s career began with a role as a management trainee in Madison. At the time, it was the only Montgomery’s location.

“I needed a lot of help when I started, but they gave it to me,” he said. “They were patient with me, and while the plan was I would divide responsibility with someone else in the Madison market, when he left, I was left fully in charge.”

He ran the Madison store and then became more involved in the merchandise side of the business instead of daily operations. He now serves as merchandising manager while still helping with sales training and pitching in as needed to cover management shifts at various locations.

“I just really like working with the Sinclairs,” he said. “It’s a great fit for my personality, and we have a like-minded sense of wanting to get things accomplished. I love working with a family business. You’re accessible to top leadership. Anybody can have a great idea, and we’ll study it and put it into play if it makes sense.”

For Flagtwet, a sales manager role originally drew her to Montgomery’s in Sioux Falls. Five years later, she became director of sales.

“The ownership always says if you take care of people, the rest happens, and they’re not wrong,” she said. “Whether it’s your employees or your customers, it’s the people that make your business strong, and it’s a fun culture here. People are always willing to help out, and our owners will help wherever needed. If there’s garbage outside, they’re picking it up.”

She enjoys a lot of longevity on her team too.

“I have people on my team who have been here 10 or 15 years, and in retail, that says a lot,” she said. “It’s not an easy job, but here we’re as family-friendly as we can be. We care for our people, and we’ve had a lot of fun and growth.”

The Sinclairs embrace change and education, which has contributed to the business reaching 135 years, Flagtwet added.

“We have education for the team in our store one day every week for an hour to 90 minutes. And it’s happened as long as I’ve worked here,” she said. “We work very hard on being educated in our field, and that doesn’t just benefit our customers but our employees because we’re investing into them through that training.”

While Montgomery’s has been celebrating its milestone anniversary all year, the past month has been especially powerful.

The company held an employee appreciation week, including notes of gratitude, games, treats and a big party with food trucks, camping and more prizes.

“Every year, we take time to celebrate our staff for an entire week, but because this year is our 135th anniversary, we changed things up a bit,” director of merchandising Jessica Clayton said.

“Every day during the week, we focused on a category we offer. Each day was themed around that category with trivia, activities, treats and raffle prizes.”

In an especially memorable moment, all employees were recognized in a “graduation ceremony” and introduced along with their years of service, while receiving a $135 gift.

“It was super cool, not like anything we’ve done in the past, and it was really nice that every employee at the celebration was called out and personally recognized,” Flagtwet said.

“But we care about those milestones. At a one-year anniversary, employees are taken to lunch with their supervisor. There are other recognitions at five, 10 and 15 years, and often our owners will stop and congratulate employees or email or text them.”

Another core company value is giving back. So in addition to appreciating the team, recent weeks were filled with philanthropy:

  • The Madison store raised money for the Domestic Violence Network’s build-a-room campaign.
  • The Sioux Falls store raised money for the Active Generations All Access east-side campus campaign.
  • The Watertown store is raising money for the Human Service Agency Detox & Rehab facility.
  • The Aberdeen store is raising money for Meals on Wheels.

“We continually look for ways to give back to the communities that have made us who we are today, and that’s especially true in this anniversary year,” Sinclair said.

“It shows what a perfect cultural fit our employees are that they immediately rallied behind this effort with us, and we’ve been able to make significant contributions to multiple valuable efforts.”

Montgomery’s even was honored for its commitment to the state recently by the South Dakota Hall of Fame, with one of the organization’s Acts of Excellence awards, reserved for extraordinary individuals and organizations who are serving their communities in meaningful ways.

Gehrels views it simply – this is just a reflection of the culture that has helped him at Montgomery’s for nearly 30 years.

“People just do the right thing and treat everyone right,” he said. “That’s the internal cultural. Everyone moves in the right direction and focuses on how to improve. It just makes life as a retail employee a lot easier. I just love the fact that the No. 1 most important thing is to treat customers and treat each other like you’d like to be treated. It’s pretty simple, but it makes all the difference.”

To learn more about growing your career at Montgomery’s, click here.

Montgomery’s Moves Forward by Giving Back

Montgomery’s Moves Forward by Giving Back

Montgomery’s Moves Forward by Giving Back

July 14, 2023

Family-owned businesses have a unique advantage when it comes to making a positive impact on the communities they serve. With a shared sense of purpose, deep-rooted values, and a strong connection to local communities, there is great potential to create lasting change. The ripple effect of giving back can lead to a more compassionate and supportive community where people work together for the greater good.

Sinclair Family Giving Back Blog

At Montgomery’s, we encourage our staff to get involved, and that was evident when we asked for their input on nonprofits to support in the months of July and August. From kids to senior citizens to dogs and cats, numerous suggestions were made from their hearts and personal experiences. We are pleased to align ourselves with the following nonprofits by asking you, our customers, to consider a donation when you’re in our stores. We’ll match dollars 1:1, up to $5000. Think of the impact that will make on your community and maybe even someone you know.

Charity Logos Giving Back Blog

July 10-15 Domestic Violence Network in Madison
July 24-29 Center for Active Generations in Sioux Falls
July 31-Aug 5 Human Service Agency Detox & Rehab in Watertown
Aug 7-12 Meals on Wheels in Aberdeen

As we are more than halfway through our year-long celebration of 135 years in business, we want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for continuing to support local businesses and South Dakota communities.

At 135 years and counting, Montgomery’s makes fun plans for upcoming milestone year

At 135 years and counting, Montgomery’s makes fun plans for upcoming milestone year

At 135 years and counting, Montgomery’s makes fun plans for upcoming milestone year

Original Post from pigeon605.com

Think about all the ways furniture has evolved in the past decade.

Or the past 50 years.

Now try to imagine how furniture has changed over the past century.

Or even farther back – like 135 years.

You begin to get an appreciation for what it must take to have owned a family furniture business that has serviced customers all those years.

“If I were to pick the top reason we’ve made it all these years, it’s that as a family we’ve just decided that we invest almost every penny back into the business,” said Eric Sinclair, president of Montgomery’s and the fifth generation of family leadership.

“Reinvesting back into the company has enabled us to evolve very quickly, from how fashionable our showrooms are to how we take care of our facilities, to having enough inventory and, most importantly, building great teams of people to make it all happen.”

In 2023, Montgomery’s marks a big milestone: 135 years in business, from a single store in Alexandria to a four-location home furnishings powerhouse known for full-service home interior design and outstanding customer experiences.

“Montgomery’s is known for highly fashionable, high-quality and really unique home furnishings,” Sinclair said. “We hear it a lot, especially as more people are moving to South Dakota from larger areas. They’re not expecting what they discover here for home furnishings.”

Montgomery’s roots are in serving growing communities. In 1888, Alexandria was where the train line ended in Dakota Territory and George H. Montgomery departed after boarding in his native Wisconsin. He was a woodworker who used his skills to start Montgomery’s Furniture and Funeral, building both furniture and caskets for the early settlers.

George transitioned the business to his son, W.R. Montgomery, in 1918. Two years later, George’s son-in-law Gilbert Loomer joined the team. Gilbert’s two sons eventually bought the business in 1959.

A fire destroyed the Alexandria store in 1964, which was replaced by one along the interstate. Future stores followed in Arlington, Howard and Sioux Falls.

Son-in-law Clark Sinclair joined the business in Howard in 1977.

His son, Eric, and daughter-in-law Neala moved back to South Dakota in 2006.

“My mother and father, Connie and Clark, are still very involved, and my wife and I are involved as the fifth generation,” Sinclair said. “Our three kids aren’t involved yet, but hopefully one or multiple of them show interest in carrying on one of the original retail businesses in South Dakota.”

But first, they’ll have to work elsewhere as part of a family tradition that also has contributed to the business’ longevity.

“We like our next generation to go out and have other jobs before they come into the family business,” Sinclair said. “That’s been critical. For me, I worked for a manufacturer of custom upholstery and worked with independent retailers in home furnishings all over the country. It allowed me to see what worked and didn’t work and was invaluable to my education as I came back and kept growing the business.”


Montgomery’s has lots of plans for celebrating its anniversary year – with more announcements to come – but 2023 will kick off with a fun giveaway. Four lucky shoppers will win a whole-room giveaway, valued at $13,500 each. One winner will be chosen from each store – Aberdeen, Madison, Sioux Falls and Watertown – and all you have to do is stop in to enter from Jan. 3 through Feb. 6.

“One thing that’s extremely important to my family is giving back to the communities we serve,” Sinclair said.

“I think that’s been a reason for our success for multiple generations. We do an immense amount of giving within our communities, and for the anniversary year, we’re excited to be focusing on that even more. We wanted to start off with something fun that our customers would appreciate as they stop in the stores and dream a little bit about what is possible.”

Homeowners envisioning improved spaces have led to several years of strong growth for Montgomery’s.

“Recent times have been wonderful,” Sinclair said. “It’s been a good year, and in our area people keep moving here and keep building and remodeling homes. Generally, since COVID, consumers are investing more in their home furnishings, and we have seen that. They’re much more focused on their homes and making sure they’re surrounded with beautiful things and feeling comfortable in their surroundings.”

People also are “busier and busier,” which means Montgomery’s full-service design approach adds even more value, he said.

“Maybe you’re starting a new job or just bought a house, you’re getting the kids in school, and there’s a lot of change in your life. So if we can be the ‘easy’ button and create a beautiful space in the home, that’s wonderful for consumers, and a lot of them are utilizing those services, which are complimentary when you work with us.”

Montgomery’s has invested in more inventory, making sure customers are able to enjoy their new furnishings as soon as possible.

“We have four times as much warehouse space as we did when the pandemic started, and it’s full,” Sinclair said. “We’ve made a strategic decision that having stock on hand is really important. The customer wants something now, and that’s becoming a bigger part of the buying decision.”

But Montgomery’s also is known for its customization options, and that continues too.

“About half of our business has historically been about special orders and customization, and that is really starting to come back as we’re experiencing more normal lead times,” Sinclair said. “With so much design support in-house, customization is important to our customers but so is knowing that they can get their selections quickly.”

Entering its 135th year, the Montgomery’s team, fittingly, has grown to about 135 people. And while there’s always room for new team members looking to grow their career, “we’ve been very fortunate to be in a really good position when it comes to our teams,” Sinclair said. “We’re seeing more people come to us looking for stability, which is something we can definitely offer, but we also want to make sure it feels like you’re part of a small family business.”

That includes a Culture Club that brings forward monthly ways to keep work fun, from turkey bowling in November to a “seven days of Christmas” experience during the holidays.

“We like to do things like bring in lunch and set up hot cocoa bars to make sure people enjoy their co-workers and environment, and know they’re part of a company that values relationships and having fun at work.”

A Family Affair

A Family Affair

In a business culture when chain stores and national franchises rein supreme, Montgomery’s Furniture, with its 126 years of experience and five generations of family leadership, is a bit of a novelty (to put it lightly). But, despite its unique status, Montgomery’s success has certainly been no fluke. A combination of pioneering spirit, hard work, and an endless drive to continually improve, cultivated over five generations, have been key ingredients in the business’ longevity.

Montgomery’s Furniture was founded by George H. Montgomery in 1888, a full year before South Dakota would even be admitted for statehood. The original store was opened in Alexandria, South Dakota, but expansion and customer demand eventually led to the opening of stores in Mitchell, Sioux Falls, Madison, and Watertown. Continued success and dedication to their customer base have led to further expansion and renovation in all of the stores, with the current Sioux Falls renovation being the newest and largest of those endeavors.

When he first opened, George had a simple mission to create a furniture store that not only provided the highest quality of products, but that also cultivated a standard of customer service that was second to none. Fifth generation owner Eric Sinclair who, along with his father and mother Clark and Connie Sinclair, and his wife Neala, own and operate the stores in Sioux Falls, Madison, and Watertown, emphasizes that this mantra is just as strong now as it was when his great-great-grandfather first opened. “Quality of service has been, in my opinion, a major factor in Montgomery’s 126-year success. We have very high expectations for our product and our brand, and we personally play a role in almost all processes from start to finish.” Sinclair also emphasizes that the “Family Atmosphere” at Montgomery’s extends well beyond the ownership. “We’re distinctly aware that Montgomery’s success is a direct correlation to the many quality employees we have at each of our stores and also to the loyal customers and community base that’s been cultivated throughout the years. We wouldn’t be where we are without these groups and individuals and it’s our commitment that they all feel welcomed into the Montgomery’s Family.”

montgomerys sinclair family