La Grande’s Adams Avenue business district welcomes a new kid on the block this Saturday, when Aaron’s, a national furniture and home electronics dealer, opens its store in the building formerly occupied by Lynch Motors.
Lucky the Dog waves to passers-by Monday as he promotes Saturday’s opening of Aaron’s on Adams Avenue in La Grande. - Observer photos/PHIL BULLOCK
The new store, at 1602 Adams, is one of 1,500 Aaron’s franchises across the Unites States. The company, in business 51 years, is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
The local store is owned by Bob Magid, a Lake Oswego businessman and real estate developer. Four years ago Magid established an Aaron’s franchise in Madras, and a year ago opened one in Hermiston. He oversees operations from a main office in Lake Oswego.
He said a conversation with former Observer Publisher Ron Horton led him to look into the possibility of opening a store in La Grande.
“He convinced me La Grande was something to take a look at. It seems a perfect fit for what Aaron’s has to offer,” Magid said.
What the store has to offer is a line of furniture ranging from side tables and lamps to sofas and chairs, plus appliances, computers and home electronics including big-screen and flat panel televisions.
“They are all name-brand items with the latest in technologies,” Magid said.
Aaron’s guarantees the lowest available prices, Magid said. He said Aaron’s customers either buy retail or lease to own.
“They can lease for a period of 12 or 24 months with a comfortable payment and take ownership at the end of that time,” he said.
He said he thinks his market extends far beyond the borders of La Grande.
“We’ll be delivering to customers in Wallowa and Baker counties as well,” he said.
Magid closed the deal on the former Lynch showroom in October, following completion of the city permit process. Crews started remodeling in January.
“With my background in real estate development, I thought this would be an interesting project,” Magid said.
Local contractors have been busy revamping the interior and exterior. Work inside included demolishing former offices and laying new carpet; outside, a new facade was built and signage added. The parking lot to the east of the building is getting new asphalt.
The infrastructure underwent renovation as well, with workers revamping the electrical, plumbing, and heating and cooling systems.
“We’ve had not less than two dozen people working on the project altogether,” Magid said.
The La Grande Aaron’s crew includes, from left, Bob Magid, Lowell Fuhrman, General Manager Mike Reagan, Lucky the Dog, Deena Hart and Raymond Fett. - The Observer/PHIL BULLOCK
Magid said the store will initially employ seven people.
“Most of the staff is local. We’ve got one person relocating from Umatilla, and there will be a regional manager from Hermiston who will come in and work with the staff,” he said, adding that others will be hired depending on future need.
“We’ll potentially grow to maybe nine employees,” he said.
Magid said he optimistic about Aaron’s future in Northeast Oregon.
“The word we’re getting says everybody is excited and anticipating the opening,” he said. “I expect there will be good interest in our product line.”
Aaron’s will open its doors to the public for the first time Saturday at 10 a.m. Regular business hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Thursday,
10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
A grand opening is planned for noon next Wednesday, April 16.