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Grand Rapids in 1856

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Furniture Salesman

Furniture Salesman

GRHC - September 2nd, 2013

Charlie Jones, one of the earliest furniture salesmen, began selling furniture by accident. He went on to become known as the dean of furniture salesmen.


Charlie Jones sold furniture for one of the first furniture companies in Grand Rapids. When be began he was not classified as a salesman, he was working in the shipping room of Berkey Bros. & Co. when he began selling furniture.

“They didn’t have any regular salesmen then,” said Jones. “I had an idea I could sell some furniture so they told me to go ahead and sell it and I did. That was how I got started in the late 1860s.”

But it was in 1871 that young Jones really made his first trip and really sold some furniture. It was right after the Chicago fire and they needed furniture. His instinct for salesmanship caused Jones to see the opportunity and he secured permission to go to Chicago to try to sell some of the Berkey Bros. product. He succeeded.

The following year he had another inspiration. If he could make a trip along the Lake Michigan shore he could sell more furniture. Again he set out and took the old Grand Trunk railroad to Grand Haven where he started. From there he went by boat and by wagon to Spring Lake, Muskegon, Pentwater, Whitehall, Montague, Ludington, and everywhere he sold furniture. Jones styles that as his first regular selling trip.

Charlie Jones, considered the dean of furniture salesmen, was still on the job in 1928.

Full Details

TitleFurniture Salesman
KeywordsWYCE; radio; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; furniture; selling
Pubdate StringSeptember 2nd, 2013

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