One of the many things I like to spotlight and support here on MBIP is local and family-owned businesses in Peoria, Illinois. I recently met Mike Wiesehan at a Peoria Chiefs game and I found out that he’s part of the LIppmann family and co-owner of Lippmann’s Furniture & Interiors store located in Pioneer Park, along with his sister, Kathy Crank. Years ago, one of my first jobs out of high school was being a furniture delivery person for Eppel Furniture, which back then was another family-owned furniture retail outlet here in Peoria. I worked for Eppel Furniture in 1979 and back then you also had other family furniture businesses in Peoria such as: Underwood Furniture, Cohens and Siegrist Furniture, along with LIppmann’s which started out in the ‘50’s and was located for decades on Sheridan Road.
The years here in Peoria have treated the family-owned furniture businesses a little bit like a long-running episode of Survivor or maybe even Last Comic Standing and the sole survivor and last store standing in Peoria’s family-owned furniture business is LIppmann’s Furniture, which moved from its original Sheridan Road location to Pioneer park back in 2006. They’re the last local and family-owned full-service furniture and interior retail store in Peoria. The Lippmann Furniture Store and story is rich in Peoria history and we’ll touch on a little bit of that when we get there, which should be any second now...you’ll see!
See, here we are in Pioneer Park at Lippmann’s Furniture & Interiors store. This place is so big, you need a telescopic lens to get a photo of the entire building. Sadly, I don’t have one of those, so I took a couple different angles of the store. And now before we go in, let’s acknowledge the unplanned obligatory front door mirror shot in that last photo, because I love it when that happens...and now we can go inside!
Wow, as big as it looks outside, it looks even larger and more impressive inside. There’s Lippmann’s owner, Mike Wiesehan and he introduced me to his mother, Inge, back in the office off of the showroom. I don’t know Inge’s secret, but she looks more like Mike’s sister than his mother, the furniture business must keep you young! Mike and Inge told me that Lippmann’s has a long-running history that starts out in the town of Chemnitz, Germany.
That’s where Moritz Walter Lippmann (highlighted in the center of this photo) was a furniture designer, manufacturer and retailer. His son, Walter (highlighted in the upper right corner) moved to the United States in 1949 and shortly after, Lippmann’s Furniture was born right here in Peoria, Illinois on the 2500 block of Sheridan Road (right across from where Whitey’s Tip Top stands today.) In 1989 they opened up another store in Bloomington and then moved it to Normal, Illinois and then that store closed in 2006 and they moved the Peoria, Illinois location to where they stand here in Pioneer Park today.
Inge brought out a photo album that has some pictures of the different Lippmann’s storefronts through the years. That’s the original store on Sheridan Road and below that is the Bloomington store and the last one is the store front in Normal, Illinois.
Here’s Mike with a framed photo of the original store front on Sheridan Road. That sure brings back memories!
And here’s more memories from another photo album that Inge brought out, this one has a photo of Inge and her daughter Kathy (who’s the co-owner of Lippmann’s) with President Gerald Ford! The photos below that are of a huge crowd in the store for founding owner, Walter Lippmann’s 90th birthday party. It was really great hearing about the history of the store and looking at the photos with Mike and Inge! And now...
It’s time for a tour of the current Lippmann’s Furniture & Interiors store! There’s Mike leading the way!
The first stop is the Tommy Bahama home furnishings section in the front of the store. Mike told me that they’re the only store in town that sells this popular furniture line.
If you’re looking for a comfortable chair to ease the stress from the day, check out this Stressless section of super comfortable easy chairs! I was tempted to plop down and call it a day right here, but Mike kept moving along!
This is another impressive name in the furniture world that LIppmann’s carries, Stickley. Mike told me that in addition to quality furniture, they also have furniture that appreciates with age. This is because some of the furniture they manufacture is done on a limited basis and once it’s sold, they don’t make anymore, making the value of the pieces go skyward as time moves along.
The inventory and all the furniture, art and household furnishings in Lippmann’s is really impressive and you really have to come and see it yourself to fully appreciate this local, last of the family-owned full service Peoria furniture stores!
Sit Ubu, sit! (Hat tip to Chip Joyce for this on-going joke!) Thanks to Mike and Inge for sharing their memories of the history of LIppmann’s and a fun tour of Lippmann’s Furniture & Interiors. We’ll see you all tomorrow!