Following record sales of real estate in Southwest Florida, a Midwest-based furniture retailer is planning its first store here to help furnish some of those new homes.
Walter E. Smithe Furniture & Design, which operates 10 showrooms across the Chicago area and northwest Indiana, is planning to begin construction this month to renovate a commercial building on U.S. 41 in Naples that previously was home to national hardware and furniture retailers. The family-owned Smithe plans to open its 11th store early next year in Naples, if not earlier.
“It will likely be early 2023. We would like it to be sooner, if possible. That’s the goal,” said Colleen Smithe, director of advertising for Walter E. Smithe Furniture & Design. “We’re looking forward to taking over that space.”
The 34,000-square-foot storefront at 3790 Tamiami Trail most recently was Orchard Supply Hardware. Before Orchard Supply briefly operated there, the store was home to Today’s Home Furnishings and Thomasville Home Furnishings.
The former Orchard Supply store has been vacant for more than three years. It opened in early 2016 and closed just two years later. Lowe’s, which owned Orchard Supply, announced in late 2018 that it was closing all 99 of the California-based boutique hardware stores, including both stores in Collier County.
Smithe’s Naples showroom will carry the company’s complete line of furniture and décor and will offer clients full-service design, something that Smithe is well-known for in Chicagoland. Beginning this month, Florida clients can work with a local Smithe designer on their furniture and design needs virtually from home. Clients are matched with designers who assist them in selecting furniture, accessories, fabrics and finishes that align with their personal aesthetic and budget.
“Our clients have been asking us to open in Naples for years. We have been waiting for the right space to become available and found that in 3790 Tamiami,” said Walter E. Smithe III, president and CEO of the furniture concept. “Our family is excited to offer our level of quality and service to a new market.”
Smithe has been at the helm of his family’s business since 1980, working alongside his brother, Mark, and four of his children, Caitie, Colleen, Maureen and Meghan. The Chicago business debuted in 1945 as Tone Appliances and Furniture on the city’s northwest side, pioneering the concept of custom-order upholstery in the area.