The History of Barn Furniture
The history of Barn Furniture Mart begins with a simple store called the “Whittler’s Barn.” This wooden barn had served as an unfinished furniture store that catered to local farmers and had been in existence since 1890. The “Whittler’s Barn” once stood at The Barn Furniture Mart’s current location on Sepulveda Boulevard near the Victory Boulevard intersection.
Across the country, future Barn Furniture Mart owner, Phil Tuberman worked in the bicycle business at the age of fifteen. It was the Depression of the 1920’s that gave this young man the opportunity to run a bicycle business of his own, when his former boss offered him a store. Phil Tuberman ran “Phil’s Bike Shop” in New York along with his two older brothers, Frank and Harry.
After all three brothers served in WWII, only two survived. Phil and Harry lost their brother, Frank while he served in France. The two surviving brothers decided to move to sunny California, with no money and their bike shop failing.
On his way to California, Phil played a lucky hand of poker that won him $8,000. When he got to Los Angeles, he kept hearing about the developing San Fernando Valley. He ventured through the desolate valley in 1945 and came across the “Whittler’s Barn” and managed to buy the store, property and merchandise with his $8,000.
He used his previous experience as a bicycle shop owner and former connections to create “The Barn Furniture and Cycle Mart,” where he sold bicycles that he got from India, and unfinished furniture. However, by 1949, The Barn Furniture Mart stopped selling bicycles and sold only furniture.
Phil Tuberman also decided to start a family around this time. He married and had two children, Andrea and Leon Tuberman.
By 1955, The Barn Furniture Mart began selling patio furniture in addition to the unfinished furniture. It was a true family business with Millie, Andrea, and Leon all having responsibilities within Phil’s business.
Tragedy struck the Tubermans when Phil was involved in a traffic accident and spent the following three years in the hospital. Millie and Leon, then 15-years-old, took control of the business.
In 1971, The Barn Furniture Mart evolved yet again when Leon decided that the furniture being sold should be finished, taking the burden of the hard work off the customers. 1972 brought solid oak toilet seats that became extremely popular and ball & claw tables that continue to sell successfully. A major innovation came in 1978, when Leon achieved major success by creating butcher-block tables that were made out of solid maple.
In 1984, the Tuberman family grew with Leon getting married and starting a family of his own, but also lost an important member of the family. Phil Tuberman passed away the same year.
By 1996, The Barn Furniture Mart had expanded to seven stores spread out throughout Southern California. While there were several benefits to having so many locations, the comfort and ingenuity of having the one major, family-owned business that began The Barn’s success was missed. The original store and all the sentiment that came with it prevailed, and all the other stores were consolidated.
By 1995, Barn Furniture Mart began catering to their online customers through Internet sales. Now, customers can buy the unique pieces that set The Barn Furniture Mart apart nationwide. With the website being up since 1986, The Barn has shown to be aggressive with its use of technology.
In the future, The Barn will continue in the direction that has led the way thus far. By servicing customers and friends for over three generations, word of mouth will continue to be the corner stone of the store’s advertising. The excellent quality, value and service will keep bringing in new customers as well.