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Furniture still big business in Manchester

New Hampshire Union Leader

July 25. 2015 7:04PM

Owner Brian Longo of C.A. Hoitt Furniture Company is selling his property on the corner of Valley and Wilson streets in Manchester. (David Lane/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER - Looking to replace that sectional or dad's ugly chair?

Manchester is getting one - and perhaps two - new furniture stores in the coming months.

An Ashley Furniture HomeStore will be moving into a new $3 million building being built near Wendy's off South Willow Street.

And a furniture company might buy the former C.A. Hoitt Furniture building, at the corner of Valley and Wilson streets.

"There's a couple of furniture stores showing interest," said C. Brian Longo, Hoitt's president.

A deal could come soon.

That was good news for Karen Liotti.

The Concord mother was shopping last week to help furnish her daughter's first post-college apartment.

"No, there aren't enough affordable stores with quality," Liotti said outside Bob's Discount Furniture, about 1.5 miles from the new Ashley Furniture store.

Liotti said she still has an Ashley Furniture pull-out sofa from 12 years ago.

The two-story Ashley Furniture store is 34,000 square feet on Driving Park Road, off South Willow Street.

A spokesman for the Wisconsin-based company said Ashley Furniture often licenses stores to others to operate and that markets are targeted based on where a store could do well.

Ashoke Rampuria is the licensee and owner of both New Hampshire Ashley Furniture HomeStores, in Manchester and Salem, according to the spokesman.

Rampuria told the New Hampshire Union Leader he didn't know when the Manchester store would open and declined further comment.

Ashley Furniture, which has 575 HomeStores, bills itself as the top selling furniture store brand in the world and the world's largest manufacturer of furniture.

Meanwhile, Ben Nardi, the Realtor handling the Hoitt property sale, said he hopes to ink a deal soon with a buyer.

"I'm confident I should have something in the next 30 days," he said.

Nardi also is helping to finalize a deal to fix a problem regarding the property.

About 4,000 square feet of land used for accessing the loading docks actually belongs to the city.

Nardi said he is working with the city to sell the parcel to the Hoitt property owner, which is a Longo family trust.

A purchase price for the city piece hasn't been set yet, he said.

Ward 3 Alderman Pat Long said he knows that has an been an issue for potential Hoitt property buyers.

"We're looking to take care of this, so future clients do not have to worry about this," Long said.

The Hoitt property, including a parking lot across Wilson Street, is on the market for $1.35 million. The store closed in 2013.

The Hoitt name has been tied to the furniture business since Charles A. Hoitt opened for business at 816-826 Elm St. in 1880.

Longo declined to talk about today's furniture business in the Manchester area.

But, he said, "Unfortunately, a lot of today's furniture customers are price-driven."

A spokesman for Bob's Discount Furniture didn't respond to a request to comment on the Manchester market.

Longo said he wants someone to carry on the Hoitt name.

"We hope to pass that on, that baton on so to speak, to another furniture business," he said.

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