Iconic furniture store will close by Christmas

"Personal" issues are among the reasons why Galloway's owner is calling it quits.

By EMILY NIPPS, Times Staff Writer
Published October 12, 2007

TAMPA - It survived 1950s Formica, the 1970s egg chair, the rise and fall of the 1980s black "pleather" couch.

It even thrived through the current craze of Rooms To Go convenience.

Galloway's Furniture, however, could not withstand certain "personal and business" issues, said owner John Galloway. After almost 60 years in business, the South Tampa institution will be closed by Christmas.

"I'm retiring," said Galloway, 64. "It hurts for me to say that. But I have a beautiful boat and I'm heading south to the Keys."

Galloway, whose late father, Ralph, opened the store in 1948 and sold it to him in 2001, would not elaborate on the personal issues, though court records show that he and his wife, Marsha, are going through a divorce.

He did say, though, that Famous Tate Appliances bought the 22,000-square-foot building on Henderson Boulevard, so Galloway's must move out of the site quickly.

The store, known for its contemporary-style furniture and personalized service, plans to begin a liquidation sale next week, and will keep its warehouse and service center open through February.

Over the decades, the store sold furniture to tens of thousands of customers, many of whom remained loyal through various decor trends.

Becky Cormier, a head designer who has worked at Galloway's for 34 years, said she was devastated to hear the place is closing.

"It's such a personal loss," she said. "Nowhere in Florida can people buy this kind of furniture. We're an icon."

Emily Nipps can be reached at nipps@sptimes.com or 813 226-3431.