In March 1949, Frank and Mary Webster opened Webster Furniture. Today, their son Dan is still there, though he’s helping new owners Rachel Dreyer and Glenn Grovenburg take over the Brewster institution.
Over the years, the business grew to triple its footprint on Main Avenue, changed its offerings with home decor fashions and the needs of its customers, and grew to serve much of Okanogan County, including the Methow Valley.
“When I first started here one of the things I really gravitated towards was the Methow Valley,” Webster said.
As the county’s population has grown, and more people have moved to the Methow Valley, many people have traveled down to Brewster to shop locally for furniture.
“We’ve always worked hard for our customers,” Webster said. “That’s always been kind of my primary goal, customer service and trying to do the best we can for customers. There can be a lot of challenges with that and we’ve always tried to be problem solvers as best we can. That’s what it’s all about.”
Grovenburg is new to the furniture business, but Dreyer worked for furniture stores in eastern Washington and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, before having a career in the dental industry in Seattle. Now, she’s ready to come back to the east side of the Cascades, she said, and said working with Webster on the transition has made her feel very comfortable with buying the furniture business.
Dreyer’s been at the store for about a month She said she wants to reassure people that the change in ownership won’t mean a change in attitude.
“People know him, they’ve known him for a long time and they’re worried about new ownership and the quality going away and the customer service going away and things like that,” Dreyer said. “I want people to know none of that’s going to change. We are working very closely with Dan through this whole transition.”
Dreyer plans to build up the business’s ecommerce and online presence, and hopes to build relationships with local designers and contractors.
“For the first 25 years, Dad and Mom were the owners and I came in in the late ’70s and started here and eventually took over,” Webster said.
Dan Webster took over the family business in about 1980. His wife, Kim, was a teacher at the Brewster School District for 38 years. Their son Cody was the third generation to work at the store.
“I’m at retirement age and I look at the future and I know that I can’t do this forever,” Webster said. “It’s going to take somebody with energy.”
He said closing the business wasn’t an option.
“There’s just too much going on here and people really depend on this store,” he said.
Over the years, the store has expanded from one building to three along a block on Main Avenue in Brewster. The central section was the original store, Webster explained. In the late 1960s, when the grocery store next door moved to a new location, Frank Webster expanded his shop.
“That building through that archway, that used to be Johnny’s Market when I was a kid,” Dan Webster said.
Many years later, in 2007, the younger Webster expanded again, this time to the left to the site of a former bar.
“It takes room to show furniture,” he said. “And Dad was really, with this room, he was really limited.”
Over the years, styles have changed dramatically. Some fads have come roaring back in style — like 1950s mid-century modern pieces — but others have mercifully gone for good (ahem, 1980s floral couches). One thing has always been the same.
“Honesty and transparency and trust — that’s what I’ve built this business on basically,” Webster said. “I’ve always believed in just doing the best we can for the customer and the returns will follow, and our business has grown.”
Dreyer, who grew up in Eastern Washington near Spokane, said she’s happy to be in a more rural, quiet area.
“I’m excited about the whole thing and continuing what Dan has done,” she said.