Looking at the window displays can easily take your breath away — shimmering blue dressers with ornate, Victorian handles; antique-styled Indian sculpture in a jade finish; an antique, repro art deco lamp; advertising signs; and a 50s-style den chair.
It’s like walking through a museum — but one that is homey and inviting everyone who enters to touch, sit, and enjoy.
From the first glance, it seems obvious this is not your average home furnishings store. It is a world onto its own. It is different on so many levels — literally — than your average furniture store and spread out in so many individually appointed rooms, each one with a different style, taste, and ambience.
As you walk through the aisles you’ll see deep red, velvet upholstered cushions and chairs surrounded by unique and individualized furniture and accessories that fit together perfectly. Turn the corner, and you’ll see a contemporary, industrial-style chest of drawers with low settees and shimmery silver screens. In the next room, and entire Chinese motif. Around the corner, a modern and avante-garde, yet primitively designed mini pie-chest covered in country images. Through the next doorway, a featured designer — Paula Deen — showcases her four-poster, dark mahogany bed accented next to exquisitely detailed nature-motive fabric.
“There’s a constantly changing stream of fashion and styles,” said Joe Stamper, the current owner and manager of the home furnishings store located in downtown Cleveland across from the Courthouse. He’s been working at the store for almost 40 years. And Stamper can rightfully say the store features just about anything and everything a homeowner could possibly imagine.
But the current store didn’t open that way back in 1923. In fact, it didn’t even have the same name, nor the same location. Then it was called Kimbrough and Stamper after Stamper’s grandmas Lucy and aunt Lillie and grandpa Otto. The store then was located in Ocoee and sold general store merchandise. The store even had a truck that served as a mobile store.
The couple moved the store to Cleveland right after World War II in 1946 next door to their present location which is made of four combined original properties and totals 24,000-square-foot showroom on two floors, two additional balconies, and containing 23 individual rooms of furniture.
In addition, right before the move to Cleveland, however, the store changed its name to just Stamper’s. That’s when Stamper’s dad, Clarke, became more involved after he got out of the Army. But that’s not all they changed. The store started to expand its merchandise, from hardware to groceries, clothes to feed and tools.
“It was like going to Sears,” Stamper said. Lawnmowers. Toasters. can openers —manual and electric. All kinds of appliances. T.V.’s. Clothespins. Rope chains by the foot. “Just everything.”
Toys were soon added around Christmas time.
“It was a big deal,” he said, remembering back. “It was the first sign of things to come.”
Next, the store began selling more gift and bridal items before finally fine tuning their selections to all things home furnishings.
“It was difficult to compete with the chain stores,” Stamper said. Customers had so many products to choose from at the chain stores, Stamper’s decided to specialize and give the customer the best value and greatest selection in one specific area.
“I think we offer a look that is more unique to our particular store,” Stamper said. “It’s always changing ... merchandise and style not the mainstream ... a lot of people respond to our style ... We’re not typical.”
In addition, Stamper’s offers a huge variety of fabrics, colors and styles. For example, in several manufacturers, such as Sherrill, Stamper’s has more than 800 different fabrics available. And Stamper’s has a wide selection of unusual pieces that can be blended to create a different and individualized reflection of each customer’s taste and style.
“Folks just have to get in here and see it for themselves. It’s the only way ... There is a constantly changing stream of fashion and styles,” he said. Plus, an ASID designer is available onsite to get advice and answer design questions. “Major trends are going away from the European traditional styles and to a transitional, contemporary. Less flourishes. More linens and cleaner lines.
Financing is available through Wells Fargo. And delivery, within a 40 mile area, is free.