The speaker at the March 19, 2019, Norfolk Rotary Club meeting was Kyle Deets, Vice President of Deets Furniture. He talked about the history of Deets Furniture and its new partnership with Ashley Furniture.


Deets Furniture was founded in 1961 by Martin Deets, Kyle’s grandfather. The business was started in Madison with a $5,000 loan from Martin’s favorite uncle. As the years went by, the business moved to a metal building across the street in Madison. The business was moved to Norfolk in the 1980s with Ron and Tim, Martin’s sons, now running the business. In 1987, the business relocated to Riverside Boulevard (where Daycos is located now) where it remained for ten years. In 1997, Deets Furniture purchased some land at the southwest corner of the intersection of Monroe/South 13th Street where the business is now located.


A lot of dirt had to be brought in to bring the property up to the city’s flood codes. Because the City of Norfolk required the business to do this, their building was saved during the floods in 2010. In 2003, Budget Furniture & Mattress opened and the company had grown to about 25 employees. In 2015, Ron Deets bought the business outright and wanted his son, Kyle, to move back to work in the business.


Kyle attended Lutheran High Northeast and Northeast Community College. He then moved to Omaha and worked for a while at a bank and then as a sales rep selling outside grills. He was able to build relationships with many small businesses and took mental notes of what was working and what was not working in these businesses. These lessons helped him immensely when he moved back to Norfolk. Kyle has learned the business from the ground up, starting when he was a young boy. He has mowed the grounds, worked in the warehouse, and worked in sales.


Recently, Deets started a new partnership with Ashley Furniture. Ashley makes high quality, mass produced furniture that can be constructed and delivered quickly. Deets makes custom made furniture that takes longer to produce. Both companies provide quality furniture but give customers more choices. With this new business arrangement, Deets Furniture took 75 days to remodel the store and used local contractors. On November 9, 2018, the new store opened. The new business relationship helped in creating 12 new jobs. Ashley and Deets are operated as separate stores. Each has its own sales teams but do share in efficiencies when it comes to office personnel. A small coffee bar was also installed at the front of the establishment.


Ashley has allowed the business to gain efficiencies on speed and access to online sales. Orders are shipped to the store here in Norfolk and then are delivered by professionals. With online sales now requiring the collection of sales tax in many states, a more level playing field is being established with online and brick-and-mortar businesses. Having an online/digital presence and providing convenience to customers is critical in today’s business model.