BROKEN BOW—Over the years more and more products become available at our fingertips. You may be thinking through technology, which is true, but within the community our local furniture stores have expanded in many different ways for this holiday season.
Longtime Broken Bow establishments Chapin’s Furniture & Decorating and Bow Family Furniture & Flooring have added to and expanded their services going into the holiday season. Chapin’s brought back Square One clothing and Bow Family is now open on Sundays.
Lola Chapin of Chapin’s has recently added boutique style clothing for women in addition to the selection of furniture, floor coverings, seasonal décor, gift items, jewelry, Annie Sloan Chalk Paint, and much more.
From starting off in a small storefront, Chapin’s has grown and evolved to serve its customers for nearly 49 years. Lola and Gene took over the business on January 1, 1971 selling paint, wallpaper, draperies, and offered window repair in a two-story building. Within the first couple years Lola and Gene welcomed their two sons and eventually decided to add floor coverings and gifts, and later added furniture in the 1980s.
“Over the years we just kept changing and kept changing,” Lola Chapin continued. “Just to help grow our business and to be vital in the community in Broken Bow. Because in the 80s Broken Bow was really in bad shape, we had a lot of empty buildings around and you know we just stuck it out and you cut back on your spending, pay attention to what you’re doing, and we made it through.”
Chapin’s and many other businesses were devastated by the south side fire in 2007. Following months of cleanup, Chapin’s rebuilt and moved in to its current building (846 S E St, Broken Bow, NE 68822) less than a year after the fire.
“Our boys would say you guys are too young to quit and you’re too old to start over. Well we started over anyway,” Lola said.
To best serve the community members in Broken Bow and surrounding towns Lola said it is important for customers to have multiple options for people to choose from. In October 2019 Lola brought back “Square One” clothing for women as a way to present more choices for Custer County residents.
“We are the hub and all of these little towns around are the spokes of this wheel and we’ve got to keep this wheel turning,” Lola Chapin said.
Lola said she also enjoys serving the community by giving back to local benefits in an attempt to pay forward the abundant generosity shown to Chapin’s following the 2007 fire. She hopes Square One will continue to give women a variety of sizes and styles of fun clothing.
Bow Family Furniture and Flooring owners Ron and Cheri Chytka opened their store in 1986 following the encouragement of Keith and Maxine Glaze who used to own a furniture store in town. Ron and Cheri started the business in its downtown location (305 South 9th Ave) before they had children and have expanded several times. The east Broken Bow location at 817 East South E Street (HWY 2) is in its third year and is now open on Sundays from 12 to 4 p.m.
Ron told KCNI/KBBN it was not the couple’s plan but they also took advantage of the opportunity presented to them. He said they began filling the downtown store with furniture and then added flooring a few years later and “things fell into place.”
Bow Family now carries furniture, flooring (such as carpet, hardwood, tile and vinyl), window treatments, home accessories, as well as mattresses, pillows, and other bedding materials.
Family was certainly the appropriate name to add to the business as all of the Chytka children—Amanda, Sam, and Collin—are involved as well as Kent Westling, Ron and Cheri’s nephew, for the last 22 years.
When asked what it means to be a local staple, Ron said he doesn’t think about it too much and hopes to keep moving forward as the staff gears up for a busy season.
“It’s just what we do I guess. It’s been rewarding over the years, we got to keep moving,” Ron Chytka said. “We appreciate everyone in Custer County and surrounding areas, our trade area has expanded out quite a bit.”