2015 Year in Review: A Year of Giving and Growing!

2015 has been a big year for our company.  From continuing long-standing partnerships with local organizations, to making new friends in the community, to breaking ground on a multi-million dollar warehouse expansion… there’s never a dull moment here at Steinhafels.  We’d like to now briefly share a few of our favorite moments with you — as we look back at the year that was, and look forward to the new adventures 2016 has in store.

March 2015:  House of Hope Donation with the Kuhn Family

A home.  It’s something most of us take for granted.  For some people, finding a place to call home is a daily struggle.  The ‘House of Hope’ in Green Bay is hoping to change that.  Steinhafels is still new to the Fox Valley market, and we are excited to partner with The Green Bay Press Gazette, and help House of Hope in its fight against homelessness.  On this particular day we donated various pieces of furniture to help update the House, and make it more of a welcoming environment for those who need it most.  Packers Fullback John Kuhn and his wife Lindsey were also on hand for the event!

WATCH VIDEO FROM THIS SPECIAL DAY

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April 2015:  “Five Words on Freedom” documentary premiere

Steinhafels is proud to partner with the Journal Sentinel and Pick ‘n Save in supporting the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.  The Flight honors all vets by flying World War Two, Korean War, and terminally ill vets to D.C. to visit their memorials.  A documentary crew followed the vets and special guest, Brewers star catcher Jonathan Lucroy, on a recent flight.  The documentary premiered at Steinhafels’ Corporate Center in Waukesha.  Here’s a behind the scenes look at the big event!

WATCH VIDEO OF THE PREMIERE!

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May 2015:  “Keeping Tradition Alive in Pewaukee”

Fireworks on Pewaukee Lake have been a tradition for more than 25 years. However, due to the strained economy and funding challenges many communities are facing, the city’s hands were tied and leaders weren’t sure they could fund the annual event.  Steinhafels joined in Pewaukee’s ‘GoFundMe’ project to help save the fireworks.  Steinhafels pledged to match the final donation amount, dollar for dollar, up to $5,000.

Boaters on Pewaukee Lake watch a distant fireworks display to the west while waiting for the annual July 4th fireworks at Pewaukee's Lakefront Park on Thursday, July 4, 2013.

July 2015:  Groundbreaking for New Warehouse

As business continues to grow, Steinhafels is expanding its headquarters to match.  This July we broke ground on a more than 100,000-square-foot expansion at our Pewaukee facility.  An increased demand for quality furniture has led to this need for more space.  We’re constantly looking for more hard-working, dedicated people to join our team!  The expansion will take place in two phases, and ultimately add hundreds of employees to our company’s workforce.

“We’re breaking ground to accommodate the growth we’ve experienced, both with same-store sales with the economy picking up, and with the stores we’ve opened through the purchase from American (TV and Appliance),” president Gary Steinhafel told a local media outlet covering the event.

WATCH VIDEO OF THE GROUNDBREAKING!

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October 2015:  Design for a Difference

We can’t forget our community neighbors to the West!  This was our first year taking part in ‘Design For a Difference’.  Steinhafels was one of many local companies to help with this Extreme Makeover-style redesign at the ‘Center For Families’ in Madison, which helps families in crisis.  Thank you Floor 360 for inviting us to take part in this wonderful event.

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October 2015:  Kathy’s House Donation

We were excited to partner with Kathy’s House in Milwaukee for the first time this Fall.  Kathy’s House provides rooms for families who come from out of town and have a loved one in the hospital.  Thanks to some help from Tempur-Pedic, we were able to supply Kathy’s House with new mattresses and frames… so family members have a comfortable place to sleep during a traumatic time in their lives.

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October and December 2015:  Condella’s Coats for Kids

Steinhafels, Fox 6, and the Salvation Army team up every year for ‘Condella’s Coats for Kids’.  This year we held two coat drives at our Corporate store.  The community’s generosity was overwhelming, as volunteers collected hundreds of coats that will cleaned and distributed to children who need them throughout Milwaukee.  Those who donated also got 2 free tickets to the Harlem Globetrotters on New Years Eve!!

WATCH VIDEO OF FOX 6 NEWS COVERING THE EVENT!

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December 2015:  CBS 58 Toy Shop

Families in Milwaukee continue to struggle during these difficult economic times.  This is especially evident during the Christmas Holiday Season.  The Salvation Army ‘Toy Shop’ provides an opportunity for parents to choose from donated new toys so their children will have presents on Christmas Day, even if the family cannot afford to buy toys.  Barrels to accept toys were set up at all Steinhafels stores in southeast Wisconsin.

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As we look ahead to the next year, we are constantly working to update our retail stores and our online services, to make your shopping experience as easy and enjoyable as possible.  We want to hear from you!  Please, feel free to comment on our blog at any time, or give one of our friendly customer service agents a call.  We wish you and yours a wonderful New Year, and we look forward to seeing you in 2016!

DS Tip of the Week: Design Themes

It’s time for another Decorating Solutions Tip of the Week!

This week we take a closer look at design themes.  Many people like to have a “theme” while designing a space.

Here’s a tip from Interior Decorator Jenii Kluver, who works in our Oak Creek store:

“Make your larger investments neutral colors so that you always have the option to change themes!”

Tune in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek!

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Steinhafels Presents: Decorating Solutions’ TIP OF THE WEEK!

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If you’re anything like me, the prospect of interior decorating is COMPLETELY overwhelming.  From color coordination, to furniture placement, to choosing focal points… it can all leave your head spinning!  The great thing about design though is that there are no set rules.  There are some general principles, but overall, interior design is based on intuition, personal taste, and creativity.

For those of you who are still feeling uninspired–you are in luck!  Steinhafels offers an interior design program called Decorating Solutions.  Our designers have years of real-world experience, which they pass on to their clients.

Decorating Solutions is all about creating the home of your dreams, but what if you are just seeking advice on a small project?  After all, not every decorating venture needs to be an epic task.  That’s why we’ve come up with a new concept, the Decorating Solutions’ “Tip of the Week”.  Every week on Monday morning we will post a new tip from one of our talented designers.  You can check out our blog, or go to our Facebook or Twitter pages to find the link.

These tips will be just that–quick tips.  Nothing too elaborate or overly detailed.  These are meant to be a fun way to engage our customers, and a way for you to get to know our designers a little better.

This week’s tip comes from Laura Hoffman, one of our new designers in Appleton.

Laura has some advice for organizing all those pesky pillows you have strewn all over your room.  Laura’s Tip:  “I love to stack and build out pillows on a bed or a couch, either with the same color palette, or with different patterns.”

Check it out!  And tune in next week for another #DSTipOfTheWeek!

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Madison Makeover: Design For a Difference

A few months ago Steinhafels was invited to take part in a project at a non-profit center in the Madison community.  Steinhafels is often thought of as a Milwaukee company, but we are proud to serve the Madison, Appleton, and Vernon Hills communities as well.  Each community is unique, and gives our company a chance to engage with people from all walks of life and backgrounds.

The project we took part in is called Design For a Difference.  It’s a national campaign focused on design makeovers for charities.  This year one of the charities chosen was the Center For Families in Madison.  The center offers instruction, support, emergency child care, and in-home visits and resources to parents in need of some extra help.  The goal is to help those parents create a safe, healthy, and nurturing environment for their children.

So where does Steinhafels come in fit into this picture?  We’ll explain in a few minutes.  First, as you can see from these pictures, the center’s Respite Center was badly in need of a makeover, including new furniture.

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The Respite Center provides crisis child care 24/7.  You may be asking yourself, ‘What does decor matter as long as the children have a warm roof over their heads?’  Well, it matters a lot.

Meg Miller is the Director of the Center For Families.  She explains, “People under stress often have to get help from places that are considered shabby, because that’s what nonprofits can afford.  But it matters to people to be respected.  For parents to bring their children to a strange place–it relieves stress a bit to know they are in a nice place.”

Madison-based company FLOOR360 spearheaded the redesign project.  FLOOR360 provides residential and commercial flooring services across the Midwest.  FLOOR360 chose the Center For Families as the Design For a Difference charity for 2015, and hit the ground running.  Thanks to Brava Magazine, Steinhafels learned about the project, and instantly wanted to get involved!  It was a match made in heaven, as the designers were in need of several high-impact furniture pieces–including a sofa, loveseat, ottoman, and desk.  We’ll get to those in a minute!

Co-lead designer Caren King was integral in working with Steinhafels to find the PERFECT pieces to match the design theme, which is a “park” setting–focusing on bright oranges and greens.  King adds, “I wanted the whole space to flow, even though we had thirteen designers.”

Those 13 designers worked for months coming up with plans, and tracking down the needed materials from various companies across the community.  Then, at the beginning of October, they transformed the center in just 9 days!!  As you can see in these pictures–the transformation is jaw-dropping!

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Miller was in awe when she saw the finished product.  As she says with extreme honesty and sincerity, “We’re used to, ‘It’s good enough, it’s good enough for people who are poor,’ and what we have now is better than good enough!”

The big reveal event was a success!  Parents and children who attend the Center also had the chance to see the new space for the first time.  King exclaims, “It’s unbelievable.  Just seeing the families come in today… it was overwhelming to see their response.”

Oh, back to the furniture part… here’s a look at our furniture in the new space.  As you can tell, the pieces are already making themselves at home!

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For Steinhafels, it’s humbling to be involved in projects like these.  The furniture we donate is just a small part of something so much bigger than any of us.  Each year we give back to the community by participating with more than 100 local nonprofit organizations.  We are excited to now include the Center For Families in that list, and look forward to many more projects in the years to come!

For more information and video of the big reveal event, check out the NBC15 story at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_LS7Ux8cBfw

 

Fostering and Furniture: One Family’s Furniture Story

If you have kids, you know what a number they can do on a home… especially the furniture.

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Now, imagine having 32 kids through the years!!!

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A New Berlin family has opened their home to foster kids for 25 years.

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This is their Steinhafels furniture story.

Kathy and Pat McLaughlin have been married for 42 years.  Kathy, a neonatal nurse, says after they had their third child, she still wanted more.  “Pat had said, ‘Maybe, let’s see.’  I said, ‘Well, how about fostering?’  He said OK, and we ended up adopting 3 more children.”

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Kathy admits fostering wasn’t always easy.  The children ranged in age from infant to teenager, and some had special needs.  However, Kathy feels the experience has enriched the entire family.  She explains, “There’s always room for one more, and they bring so much joy to the rest of the family, and it helps the rest of the family to recognize the hardships some people have.  All of my children have become more tolerant of individuals who are struggling–whether it be emotionally, substance abuse, or neglect.  They’ve learned to really look at people and give them a chance.”

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Kathy is proud to say that many of her ‘kids’ have gone on to be successful adults–from graduating, to establishing impressive careers, to marrying and having children.  These days, Kathy and Pat are adjusting to being almost empty-nesters!  One of their adopted children still lives with them.  Kathy admits it’s been quite a change.  ”It was a very busy house, and now it’s so quiet.”

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As part of the couple’s new beginning, Kathy is working on redesigning the home, room by room, starting with the family room.  Given her large family, buying quality furniture was always a worthwhile investment for Kathy.  She has been a loyal Steinhafels customer for decades, and explains, “We always purchased a better quality furniture just because we knew how rough it would be with all the kids.  We had to do a lot of rocking, a lot of sitting, a lot of comforting, counseling–and that was all done in the family room.  We would sit in there together.  The kids did homework in the family room.  We would play games a lot.  On holidays we would have an average of 50 people.  A lot of the foster kids would come back, and bring their families.”

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Kathy didn’t have to look far to find an interior designer for the family room.  She hired Lori Green, a Designer with Steinhafels’ Decorating Solutions Interior Design Program.  As you can see from these pictures, the redesign project was quite a success!

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“The new furnishings have changed the entire feel of the lower level of our home. The furniture adds comfort that we truly needed,” Kathy gushes.

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Kathy admits that hiring a designer also allowed her to take a few risks.  “It’s wonderful.  Sometimes as a consumer you’re afraid to mix colors and blend colors, and to have them say, ‘Let’s try this,’ it’s beautiful.  They’re not afraid to go that extra step.”

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Many couples downsize once they hit their 60’s, but Kathy can’t imagine selling her family’s 3,000 square foot abode…yet.  The home has too many memories, and her children and grandchildren need a place to visit.

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So the redecorating project is far from over!  As you can imagine, after raising 32 children in the home, some of the rooms have seen better days.  Kathy says, “I’m really wanting a new kitchen set.  The boys have basically broken every chair.”   I bet moms with boys who are reading this blog are nodding their heads at that comment!

Kathy adds, “My next goal is the living room.  The furniture we have in there is some cheap stuff because we didn’t have money for anything else.”

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Kathy and Pat have worked hard to get where they are today, and they look forward to a future full of family, furniture, and fun.  As I talked about in my first blog, furniture tells a story.  For this special family, that story is one of love and acceptance–and a lot of wear and tear on the sofas through the years!!

Do you have a Steinhafels Furniture Story? Tell us about it!  We may feature you in the next blog.  Leave your contact info in the comments below, or email stephanieg@steinhafels.com

Steinhafels Designer Brings Expertise to Parade of Homes

Are you thinking about building a new home, or doing a major remodel, but have no idea where to start?  You’re not alone!  The idea of starting a project from scratch can be very overwhelming and stress-inducing.  Many of us would rather put off a project for months, or even years, rather than tackle it head-on.

Don’t be afraid to look to others for inspiration.  We all do!  For example, Monet was primarily inspired by nature, and Picasso had a muse… there are no completely original ideas!  However, there are ways to take old ideas and make them new.

That’s where architects and interior designers come into play.  The 2015 MBA Parade of Homes runs through September 7, and gives Milwaukee and Waukesha homeowners a chance to peek into other people’s imaginations, and be inspired.  People can walk through 25 brand new homes built by 21 of Southeastern Wisconsin’s top home builders.  The homes are spread across three subdivisions in Delafield, Pewaukee, and Menomonee Falls.  It’s a great event for people looking to build or buy a new home, to remodel, or to simply get some ideas for future DIY projects.

Steinhafels “Decorating Solutions” Designer Dawn Adamec has been involved with the Parade of Homes for years.  In this blog, we chronicle the process as she stages a home prior to the Parade, which began on August 15.

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Dawn uses her expertise to pick everything from the perfect paint colors, to coordinating furniture, and of course… accessories!

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As you can see in this home, which is featured in the Woodleaf Reserve in Pewaukee, Dawn went for a more rustic, nature-inspired motif.  You can find many of the items featured at your local Steinhafels location!

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It’s true most of us don’t live in an immaculate model home like this one.  Even if you live in a smaller or older home, you can make bold statements with furniture and accessories.  And don’t forget sometimes less is more–you don’t want to overdo it.

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The Parade of Homes began in the 1940’s, and features premier homes.  While you may not be looking to transform your house into a model home, Dawn and the other Decorating Solutions designers at Steinhafels stores across the area will be happy to help you create the home of your dreams–both big and small!

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The Stories Behind Your Furniture

What do you get when you take a former news producer and tell her to write a furniture blog for one of the top furniture retailers in the state?  At first, sensational headlines like, “Dining Room Tables On Strike”, or “Breaking News: Leather Couch Gets A Scuff”, come to mind.  Don’t worry—that won’t be this blog.

OK, yeah, so furniture isn’t always the most exciting topic out there.  I get that. But it is beautiful to look at, fun to buy, and in some cases, it can tell a pretty awesome story.

As a journalist, I am all about telling stories, and as I’ve learned through the years, a story doesn’t always have to be of the “If It Bleeds It Leads” variety.  In fact, the best stories I did during my time in TV News were usually the stories that didn’t dwell on death and destruction.  They were just good, relatable, PEOPLE stories:  The local organization offering job opportunities for the visually impaired; The guy fighting cancer whose goal was to complete his ‘Bucket List’; Or the local woman whose ancestors were on the Titanic.  They were unique, Human Interest stories you couldn’t see anywhere else.

I hope to make this blog fun, relatable, and informative.  I’m still learning about all things furniture, so we can learn together!  In upcoming blogs I will talk  about things like home design trends, decorating on a budget, how to pick the perfect mattress, and other topics we can all relate to.

I also hope to share some of the personal stories of people who work here at Steinhafels.  Being a family-owned, locally operated business since 1934, there are so many cool stories behind these walls.  I hope to share some of them and get feedback from you, our loyal customers.

The one thing I’ve noticed through my first few months at Steinhafels is that furniture is a very emotional purchase, and each piece means SOMETHING to someone.  So for this initial blog entry, I decided to reach out to folks on Facebook, and ask them about the furniture in their homes.  I asked them to tell me about a piece of furniture that tells a story–whether it’s a piece they have now, or had in the past.  I received some very heartfelt, genuine responses, and I’d like to share some of those entries and pictures with you now.

Brooke:  “It may not look like much, but this rocking chair with matching ottoman was my great grandmother’s.  When we had our first child and I told my mom I wanted a rocking chair, she said I should take this one.  She said my great grandma would love to know it’s still used for rocking babies to sleep.”

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Beth:  “I bought a mission-style futon from a warehouse sale Christmas Eve in 2002.  Put the full size futon in my Honda Civic, which surprisingly fit everything. That futon has gotten me through a lot.  Family still sleeps on it and it doesn’t look aged.  Best piece of furniture and $125 well spent!”

Lindsay:  “Oddly enough, my husband and I still talk about a recliner we had in Milwaukee.  We found it in the alley by our apartment and hauled it upstairs.  It was well-worn and definitely “broken-in”, but he never used it as a recliner.  He would perch on the edge and our old dog Jake would snuggle up behind him.  Best chair ever.”

Jackie:  “I love our “settle”.  We just call it a loveseat since most people do not know what a settle is.  I love it because the neighbor where I grew up had one like it, and that is why I bought it.  It always reminds me of her, and I’m certain she would have picked it out if she was shopping too.  She passed away 7 years ago.”

Kristin:  “This was my grandparents’ rocker that they rocked all of their grandchildren in.  The rest of our nursery furniture is white, but I didn’t want to paint over the worn away arms.  I love that my grandparents hands wore away the coloring on the arm rests.”

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Leona:  “I bought our kitchen table when my husband and I were dating in Alabama.  It was unfinished and I stained it a dark mahogany.  I had to totally sand it down and refinish it this summer (partially because my husband used it to anchor a carpentry project), even though it doesn’t fit in our current dining room.  I also redid the chairs that go with it.”

Mike:  “I still remember how at 22 I had to save a whole year to buy my first bed and mattress (my first furniture purchase).  I was living in Chicago and took my savings to Marshall Field’s and found what I wanted.  On delivery day, I took the day off to wait for the delivery.  I made myself a wonderful dinner (with wine…a splurge), took a shower so I’d be all tidy and clean (just like a little kid on bath night), and finally (and proudly) crawled into my new bed, new mattress, and new sheets.  It was a personal triumph.  Years later, parting with the bed and mattress was tough, as I realized I had become attached to the memory of that magical first sleep, and that first true adult purchase.”

Rachel: “This bed belonged to my grandmother–it’s an antique I believe is about 200 years old.  It was the only thing I wanted when she passed.  I have the fondest memories of her in it:  Sleepovers, watching TV, and just the best conversations.  The bed was such a cozy spot, I even used it as my safe place in therapy as a kid.  Canopy is all original.  I can’t wait to have my own family and fond memories, and pass it on to the next generation.”

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Karen:  “My husband has a 100-year-old chair from his great grandma. It is in the basement and needs to be reupholstered.  He loves it because it belonged to his relatives.”

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Marty:  “I still own the dressers and such that were my late wife’s starting as a middle schooler in the mid 70’s.  Can’t part with them.”

Kala:  “My bedroom set has been in my family for years.  My grandfather made dressers for my aunt, then I got them.  The furniture is more than 50 years old. And I have my mother’s vanity.”

As you can see, meaningful furniture runs the gamut–from big ticket items to smaller accent pieces.  Steinhafels wants to help you create your own memories by making each purchase–large and small–truly mean something.

Stay tuned… I plan to blog often about all kinds of topics, and any feedback is appreciated.  Thanks for reading, and maybe, just maybe, this blog will make you look at that old sofa in your living room, or that gaudy lamp your grandma gave you, in a whole new way.