There are several family businesses in Mildmay that have been operating for over 50 years…some for over 100 years. One of those stores is Schuett’s Furniture, and they are currently marking their 110th year in business! That is certainly quite an accomplishment considering the ups and downs of the economy over the years and the forever changing world of retail business.
Back in 1906 John F. Schuett opened a small furniture store on Absalom Street West, in the building which is located between Harleys Pub & Perk and JSW Heating, Cooling & Refrigeration.
In 1920, the Schuett business moved to the present day location on the corner of Elora Street (Hwy 9) and Absalom Street. (This building was formerly the Royal Hotel.)
They expanded again in 1938 when a store located across the street was purchased that is still a part of the business today. The building had been a dry goods and grocery store owned by Fred Weiler.
A branch store location was opened in the town of Mount Forest in 1941. The store was managed, and later owned by Godfrey Schuett, John Schuett’s son. Godfrey owned that store until 1974.
In 1945 Godfrey returned home from Mount Forest to the Mildmay store. He worked alonside his father because his older brother Leonard passed away suddenly from an aneurysm. Godfrey then operated the Mildmay and Mount Forest furniture stores and funeral homes.
John retired in 1947 and Godfrey became the owner in 1949.
Godfrey married Dolores Weiler in 1955 and she worked alongside him in the business.
The service just can't be beat. I was very happy with my purchase, and the customer service that was provided to me.-Sarah Krusky
Godfrey’s brother-in-law, Howard Johnston, also worked with him for over 50 years and his wife Dorothy (Godfrey’s sister), worked as the secretary for the business for over 40 years.
Godfrey also followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a funeral director. After graduating with his B.A. from the University of Toronto in the 1930’s, he apprenticed in Toronto to get his funeral licence.
His father, John, operated a funeral home in their Mildmay family home which Godfrey continued to operate until 1971, whe he purchased the former Methodist Church in Mildmay and used it for furniture storage until it was renovated into a funeral home. (That funeral business and building was sold in 1991 to Greg Roberts.)
Godfrey passed away on October 20th, 2000, one week before his 87th birthday. He had still been a part of the daily operations of the business and enjoyed visiting with everyone, and playing the piano in the store window. His sense of humour and friendly nature was known far and wide.
Dolores continued to do the bookkeeping until 2001. In earlier years she was the bookkeeper for both the Mildmay and Mount Forest stores.
Dolores passed away in 2012.
In 2001, the former grocery store known as Brown’s EMA Grocery and before that as the Fedy Grocery Store, was being sold. Schuett’s purchased the building and expanded their main store into that area.
Godfrey’s sons, Paul and Greg (along with longtime employee Pete Schneider) have been a part of the family business for over 35 years. Their sister Christine Yahbee joined the business 15 years ago when her mother Dolores retired. Greg’s wife Josie has worked at the store for the past 22 years. Paul’s wife Diane has also worked at the store.
There have been several longtime employees over the years who were not family members including Albin Huber, Bill Robson and Bob Gross, and various other part-time employees. Two of Godfrey’s grandsons Darren Yahbee and Matt Schuett have also worked at the store making it a 4th generation business.
As you have read, Schuett’s Furniture is truly a family based business that continues to be a vital part of Mildmay’s downtown business core. A business that continues to provide great hometown, friendly service.