Jim McKitrick (Mindy's' dad) graduated from The Ohio State University in 1953 with a degree in Vocational Agriculture and was hired to teach "Vo-Ag" at Milford Center and Marysville High Schools. Teaching didn't pay much back then, so he "moonlighted" and invested some money in a little company called Darby Sales. Darby Sales was literally in the middle of nowhere ~ two miles west of Dublin. He sold fence posts & barbed wire, paint, even watering troughs! It didn't take long for the Marysville School Board to learn of his "extracurricular" employment. The school board was made up of local Marysville businessmen who weren't too keen that he "competed" with them. In the summer of 1953, Jim was offered two options: A) continue teaching Vo-Ag; or B) be a businessman.
This story would end here had Jim McKitrick remained a teacher.
Darby Sales / Hilliards Furniture c. 1995
Hilliards Furniture moved in with Darby Sales at it's current location off Old Avery Road. Not much was happening around Dublin - just farming. Rural folks kept us going. Things began to change when Darby Sales turned into a "Service Merchandise-like" catalog business. Want a toaster?; a rifle or fishin' pole? a diamond ring? Darby Sales sold it! We started selling more furniture too! By the early seventies (1970s), we built a second showroom, just for furniture. To celebrate the opening of the new showroom, we held a square dance in the new building! As Dublin grew, so did Darby Sales/Hilliards Furniture. We still had only four employees, besides my dad, there was Dorothy Cosgray (a cousin); Darryl McKitrick (Jim's nephew); and, Muralynn McKitrick (Mindy's sister). In 1990, Muralynn got married and moved to Denver and our family came in from South Bend, IN. At the same time, we decided to "retire" Darby Sales so we could focus selling furniture.
At the beginning of the new millennium, Mindys' husband, Jon retired from AT&T and came to work at Hilliards Furniture. In 2003, we built a third showroom and hired a couple of interior designers to our staff. We also added Benji, our 4-legged greeter. Folks would come in just to play with him. A couple of our long-time furniture manufacturers closed, so we picked up some new ones. We have unfortunately found more and more furniture was being (cheaply) made offshore. But Hilliards Furniture has tried to represent as much "American Made" quality furniture as we can.
In late 2015, we decided to downsize. While we ended up with less space by completely remodeling our original 5000 square foot building, we (personally) think our showroom looks great!
In our 64 years in business, we've sadly witnessed the disappearance of us "Mom & Pop" businesses. Hilliards Furniture, however, has just been honored as a Columbus Dispatch's "2016 TOP Pick" for furniture stores in central Ohio. Please stop in and visit Benji (& us)!