When it comes to Davis Furniture, Sarah Bumps is all in.
And her father couldn’t be happier.
“Succession of a business is one of the biggest challenges of a business owner,” said Roger Bumps, Sarah’s father and owner, with his wife, Cindy, of Davis Furniture, 125 S. Wenatchee Ave. “Small business is a wonderful opportunity for a family. But if you don’t have someone with the talent or the desire, succession within the family won’t work.”
Sarah has the talent and the desire, as well as the resume, to be successful in the family business.
After graduating from Wenatchee High School in 1999, Sarah attended Seattle Pacific University, majored in interior design and worked for a construction company for a few years. She met with her father in a Tacoma pub in 2007, and he asked if she’d consider moving back to Wenatchee for a position in the furniture store.
“I was ready for a change,” Sarah said. “I moved back six years ago, joined the company and haven’t looked back.”
Davis Furniture (davisfurniturewa.com) has had a steady presence in downtown Wenatchee for more than 60 years. It carries well known furniture lines such as La-Z-Boy, Broyhill, Sealy and Tempurpedic, and has 20 employees. The company’s motto is “Your home is at the heart of all we do.”
“Our motto is reflective of our attitude towards serving people,” Roger Bumps said. “We really want to be attuned with what the people’s needs are, and to be skilled at determining those needs. Buying furniture is exciting. We get to share in that excitement with people. We contribute, to a small degree, to the well-being of a family or individual. We help make nicer homes.”
Josh Stendera, vice president of Cashmere Valley Bank, has watched the family business prosper.
“The Davis Furniture business has been a long-time successful operation, especially under Roger’s leadership,” Stendera said. “The Bumps family embodies the idea of what it means to be ‘in community.’ Roger and Cindy are big supporters in our community, both with their time and their resources. They live, work, volunteer and serve our community in a big way. With the addition of Sarah to the Davis Furniture leadership team, the business will continue to be successful and sustainable.”
Before it was Davis Furniture, the store was known as Dallum Furniture, named after its founder, Larry Dallum. In 1954, Roy Davis purchased the store from Dallum, changed the name to Davis Furniture and shortly after sold it to Louie Kunz and Max Stuteville. The business partners ran the store for the next 25 years.
Born and raised in Wenatchee, Roger Bumps graduated from Wenatchee High School in 1969, and then attended the University of Puget Sound at Tacoma, where he majored in business administration. He studied abroad for a semester in Austria, and wanted to return to Europe and travel after he graduated from college.
Bumps met his future wife, Cindy, a kindergarten teacher in Tacoma, during his senior year. They married in 1973, and two weeks later went to Europe on a honeymoon that lasted 18 months.
“We only had $1,500 to our name,” Bumps said. “We owed nothing and owned nothing. We drove all over Europe and Africa in a $200 Volkswagen we bought in Amsterdam. We called it the ‘little amigo.’ ”
When the money ran out, the young couple took jobs in Lisbon, Portugal, teaching English as a second language. Leaving the little amigo behind, the couple returned to Wenatchee in 1975 and picked cherries for income.
Soon after arriving home, Bumps and his father, Bill, opened a small business on Palouse Street called the Zuni Gallery.
“We’d buy turquoise and silver jewelry down on the reservations of New Mexico,” Bumps said. “We sold southwest Indian jewelry and western fine art. In addition to our retail shop, I traveled and wholesaled merchandise. We did that for two years.”
Roger and Cindy then went to work for Investors Diversified Services (now American Express) which was located in the Morris Building. The business sold mutual funds and insurance policies. “My dad was always a great idea guy,” Bumps said. “One day, he came into the office, sat down and said, ‘Roger, what would you think if we bought a furniture store?’ ”
In 1979, the father-son business team bought Davis Furniture from Max Stuteville and Louie Kunz.
“At that time it was just a small store, about a third the size it is today,” Bumps said. “My dad and I worked together and learned how to run the furniture store and expand it. Dad taught me a lot about business for the next 10 years.”
Bill Bumps retired from Davis Furniture in 1989. By that time, Roger and Cindy had two small daughters, and the young family worked to move the business forward.
“The furniture business got us into the real estate business,” Bumps said. “Many of the buildings on Columbia Street were built for the fruit business and the growers. It was once the fruit storage headquarters of the apple industry — packing plants and controlled storage buildings. Over the years we acquired abandoned and vacant warehouses near our store.”
The business couple placed a high priority in maintaining the historic value of the building in any remodeling and development project they took on.
“I think the historic value of downtown Wenatchee is an asset for our community that we don’t want to lose,” Bumps said.
One of those development projects is the Hamilton Building, originally an apple warehouse. Today, Bumps owns the building and calls it home.
The Bumps enjoy the benefits of downtown living.
“We’ve lived in downtown Wenatchee for 13 years, and there’s no other place we’d rather live,” he said. “We love living downtown and walking to do our errands. It’s a great environment to live in. We enjoy the waterfront, and now, as the riverfront starts to develop, our community is getting stronger as a downtown core.”
With a secure succession plan for the furniture business in place, Roger Bumps is focusing on passing down to his daughter the same business wisdom his father passed down to him.
“I’m in a mentoring role right now with Sarah, as I was taught by my dad,” Bumps said. “He was a very good businessman and now I’m trying to teach Sarah the same lessons my dad taught me.”
One of those lessons is to have a positive outlook.
“My dad once told me, ‘The optimists have been right a lot more than the pessimists,’ ” he said. “Things don’t always go as you hope they will, but a lot of times they do. And a lot of times, your attitude determines where things go.”
As his daughter takes on more responsibilities managing the successful furniture store, Bumps has more time to devote to his other business and personal interests, such as spending more time on the golf course.
“My daily routine doesn’t totally revolve around the furniture store,” Bumps said. “I have a number of properties that I manage, but I still have my hands on the pulse of the store. I remain optimistic about our business and our community.”
Sarah shares her father’s optimism.
“I look forward to being active in the community and to the challenges and opportunities that running Davis Furniture will bring,” she said.