A longtime Smith’s Furniture Galleria staple has called it a career after more than four decades at the Lebanon furniture store of serving thousands of families looking to make a home.
Steve Havron, a Lebanon native, said he retired recently after an “amazing” career that started after he was offered a job from a family friend.
“I knew the Smith family very well. I went to church with them,” said Havron, who said he was going out to eat with Rick Smith when Rick’s father, Max, suggested Havron might want to work at the store.
“He said, ‘Steve might like to work here,’ and I looked around and at him and I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ ”
Havron said they eventually agreed to terms and his first day was Christmas Eve 1976. Havron worked at the store for 13 years before taking a break and returning in 1995.
“I’ve been doing it ever since. It’s been good for me, good to me and good to my family,” said Havron, whose experience at the store mainly focused on sales, but included administrative and leadership roles.
Havron said people will be what he misses most about Smith’s Furniture, which has been in operation since 1950.
“I’ll miss the people that have bought furniture from me. There’s some you’d see on a regular basis, and some you wouldn’t see for a while, but we’d still relate with each other and things like that,” Havron said. “You learn a lot about folks.”
He said he would also miss his coworkers as well.
“That’s like family. It’s family away from your real family, but you see them more than your real family sometimes,” he said.
Havron said he’s worked with current Smith’s Furniture owner Mike Lankford for around 40 years in various times and said he’s enjoyed his time with him at the store.
“It’s been good. He’s been a good person to be with and work for. I’m going to miss that type of relationship there, but we’ll see each other from time to time,” he said.
Havron said he’s seen the evolution and transformation of furniture manufacturing and style in people looking to purchase furniture over the years.
“As Lebanon’s growing, you have an influx of folks coming with all different kinds of tastes. They all don’t want the thing that’s been popular for the last 10 years,” he said. “They’re also experimenting with different materials now. There are a lot of changes. Some of it’s for the good and some of it’s not.”
Havron said his focus will shift to his wife of 40 years, Joy, and their four daughters and six grandchildren.
“We do love our family and my wife has been very good to me over the years. It’s time for me to spend time with them and relate with them,” he said.
“I never knew my grandparents, so I really wanted to hopefully be able to have my grandchildren get to know me a little bit over the years for however long God allows me to stay on Earth,” he said. “I’ve been blessed there and have a little bit of a presence in their life. Hopefully they’ll remember the silly stuff I used to do.”