Famous from Syracuse: RC Willey Home Furnishings

BY BRENT JONES

RC Willey was established in 1932 by Rufus Call Willey. He was a lineman for Utah Power and light and was responsible to bring electric power to the city of Syracuse. During this time Rufus became acquainted with General Electric (GE). As part of his job, he worked with a distributing company to pick up parts and repair appliances that needed electricity. The company was Hotpoint, which was a subsidiary of GE. Hotpoint was rolling out its newest home appliance, an electric refrigerator. Rufus (RC), decided to surprise his wife with one. His wife loved the new refrigerator and became the talk of the town. Many ladies of the local community came to visit and see this new invention. RC soon had an idea to buy several of them and sell them to his neighbors. An Idea was born.

Within a short-time, RC was making more money selling refrigerators than his wages at the power company. In 1949 a small 600 sq. ft. building was erected next to his home is Syracuse. This original build still stands as part of the Syracuse RC Willey Store. Refrigerators led to ranges, and freezers, and then washers and dryers. Soon RC Willey was on its way to becoming a powerful force in the world of retail sales.

Bill Child and Warren Buffet

RC’s youngest daughter Darlene, married William H Child (Bill) and soon went to work for RC to help finance his way through college. In 1954, Bill took over the company due to the sudden death of his father-in-law, RC. The company was deeply in debt, but Bill believed that integrity and building solid lasting relationships were the keys to building a successful business. Within a few years Bill added furniture to the stores collection, which became the biggest factor in the long-term growth of RC Willey.

Bill hired his brother Sheldon, and together with a couple of other loyal employees, RC Willey was off to the races and soon became a huge force in the home furnishings business. Over the years, hundreds, and thousands of people have applied and come to work for RC Willey. These are dedicated people with great integrity and a commitment to take care of our customers. Bill always taught us to be honest, and to do the right thing.

Rufus Call Willey and Helen Swaner Wiley Barber

1995 was a great year for the company as Bill was contacted by Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. Warren thought RC Willey was a “Jewel” of a company, and within a few days had purchased the company for $170 million dollars in Berkshire Hathaway stock. If anyone has watched that stock over the past couple decades, you will see that it was a very good business decision.

Today, RC Willey has 11 full line stores with 3 large distribution centers and is soon to open its newest 175,000 sq. ft. super store in Layton, UT. It is just off the east side of I-15 at Antelope Rd. You can’t miss it. Thanks to RC, Bill, Sheldon and the thousands of people who have worked at RC Willey, we have grown from a $25,000 per year company to over $750,000,000 per year in annual sales. Thanks to all if our loyal customers from our grass roots in Syracuse, to all of Davis and Weber County. Our commitment is to always provide the best customer experience possible. This is the RC Willey Way.

RC Willey provides a one-stop shopping experience for all of your home furnishing needs. We specialize is furniture, mattresses, appliances, electronics, flooring and accessories. We have in-house financing with several plans that will accommodate every need. We also have a new Blue Rewards Loyalty program. It is a great new program.

Please come join us as we open our new Layton store on July 21st. I know that you will love it. I am honored to continue the legacy of RC Willey as we transition from Syracuse to Layton. We are excited for our new adventure.

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