I stopped by Metro Home on Monday to check out their advertised closing sale. Customers lounged in leather chairs, while others laid across four-poster beds to test the comfort of the furniture.
While the cookware side of Metro Home will remain open, the furniture business is shutting down. All furniture items are on sale for an indefinite period, although the building's lease ends this December.
Bright neon signs that read, "All must go!" and "Going out of business!" are sprawled across the front of the store. Hardwood dining sets, sectional sofas and an assortment of lamps are littered with clearance tags inside the two-story building.
I spoke with Suzanne Shimek, owner of Metro Home, about her upcoming retirement and managing the Anchorage business since 1978.
Metro Home originally opened as a combination store for cookware and gifts, Shimek said.
"The plan was to have something that anybody could buy; not super expensive. That was our premise and always has been," she said.
While Shimek enjoys knowing her customers on a first-name basis, she anticipates her retirement from retail.
"I've kind of been looking forward to this for a long time. I've really enjoyed it, but on the other hand, I don't have any qualms to do anything different," she said. "It's been wonderful and we've got great customers."
Shimek's daughter will be in charge of the cookware business once Shimek retires, which is why the store is downsizing.
As I walked around the first floor, I overheard a woman murmur that the clearance prices should be cut in half.
While costs for fine furnishings tend to be expensive, Shimek says the quality is unbeatable compared to larger retail chains.
"We're different than big box stores," Shimek said. "We're a home town store and we're unique and different. That alone sets it apart."
Shimek recalls one of her first best-selling furniture items when the store opened: a foam sleeper sofa that cost about $500. Metro Home was the only local business that sold it, she said. The company that manufactured the sofas eventually went out of business, but Shimek says people still talk about the sofa.
"They were really functional and unique and inexpensive," she said. "People bought them for their living rooms, bedrooms, cabins. They came in a lot of different fabrics and prints."
While most of Metro Home's furniture sets are not what I would consider inexpensive, the store offers an eclectic mix of dining tables and sofas. I'm not a fan of French chateau leather furnishings (unless you're Teresa Giudice from "Real Housewives of New Jersey"), but I was digging some of the modern lounge chairs, like the one pictured below for $1,039.
Lounge chairs in bold colors like red or mustard yellow make great statement pieces alongside neutral-toned furniture.
While most 20-somethings like myself aren't in the market for a five-piece bedroom set, the store offers an array of funky lamps and contemporary wall hangings that can spice up a living room or bedroom. The cost of paintings, like the ones below, range from $129 to $149.
Best part of all? All prices in the furniture section are negotiable. Bring your bargaining skills and a measuring tape to double check furniture sizes.
570 E. Benson Blvd.
Anchorage, AK 99503
Contact Kelly McLain at kelly(at)alaskadispatch.com.