Furniture man leaves legacy to sons

Published 7:28 am Monday, December 27, 2010

To some, he was known simply as “The Furniture Man.”

Don Brick, the owner and founder of Brick Furniture was many things to many people. But to his three sons, he was the architect of a legacy that is still thriving today.

Don, who passed away this month, started out in the furniture business at Brick Furniture in Owatonna, a store his father had purchased from a family member. When his father passed away, Don went on to own the store, along with his brother, Bill Brick.

Don Brick celebrates his 70th birthday with a cake depicting the rebuilding project he and his son, Steve Brick, went through after a storm devastated the Austin Brick Furniture Store.

Email newsletter signup

From there, it’s all history.

Brick went on to purchase the Austin store and, according to his wife, Arlene Brick, never stopped looking for more locations that his sons could take over.

His search proved to be fruitful, as he was able to purchase a store in Albert Lea, managed by his son John Brick, and one in Mason City, managed by his son, Matt Brick. The Austin location is now managed by his son, Steve Brick.

For Steve, it was never a question as to whether or not he’d end up in the furniture businesses. He started working at his father’s side when he was just 16-years-old and never looked back.

“Me and my dad always had a really good relationship,” Steve said. “He was a listener, and he always heard all of my problems.”

That meant he was also a good teacher, as he eventually was able to pass down knowledge of the business to Steve, who took over.

He also served as a mentor for his two other sons, who eventually took managed the Albert Lea and Mason City stores after Don went through with the large-scale purchases.

Even after his three stores were up an running, Don kept his eyes out for sales of surrounding property.

“My husband never quit looking,” Arlene said.

His dedication paid off, as buildings near the Austin and Albert Lea location were purchased by Don, who saw the potential for growth in the stores long before anyone else.

Though he was taken by the furniture business, Don still left plenty of time in his schedule for fun, which for him consisted of hunting and fishing.

But on the days he wasn’t off with his hobbies, he was in the Austin store, helping out Steve and visiting with long-time customers.

“He never tired of it,” Steve said.

Steve jokes about the times his father would open the doors of the store on a typically closed Sunday if he happened to see someone trying to get in.

It was that sort of customer service and friendliness that led to his reputation as the well respected and honest furniture man.

“I think he set a good example of how to take care of people,” Steve said.