As a peddler with six daughters, Sam Levin was persuaded by his wife, Jessie, to establish a dignified business in 1920. This is the origin of the Levin Furniture Company in rural Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.
The store sold hardware items and furniture where customers could buy everything from flyswatters and expandable window screens to three piece “parlor suites.” An important part of the business during the early years involved coal stoves, due to Sam’s gigantic inventory of replacement parts. This was helpful as Mount Pleasant had a Foundry that made custom make, difficult-to-find castings. The store was successful from the beginning as hardware items were gradually phased out and the furniture division expanded.
Both Jessie and Sam Levin worked hard to develop their business as a quintessential mom and pop store. Levin’s created a generous credit and installment system for their customers. As a result, Sam was proud that he never removed a customer from his books during the Great Depression. Sam went so far as to accept chickens, eggs and other items of barter for desperately needed mattresses and furniture.
Leonard, the first son after five daughters, entered the business in 1943. Under his leadership, a major expansion altered the history of the store. An elegant private townhouse, called “Colonial House,” was purchased as a new, integral part of the store. The townhouse acted as a boutique store within Levin’s and was fastidiously created in a Williamsburg-like design with Early American-style furniture and a large accessory department. The townhouse was so inviting that it earned its way on bus tours where groups ranging from fifteen to thirty people visited the various rooms and heard a lecture on the history of furniture during that time period.
During this time, Leonard’s wife Sally began working with her husband on buying, merchandising and advertising for the business. She also created a new role for herself as the decorator and design consultant. The next great leap into the future was when Leonard and Sally’s older son, Howard Levin, entered the family business in 1978. Howard moved Levin’s to the Pittsburgh area and within seven years, he opened five major full service stores. Levin’s is now the largest furniture retailer in Western Pennsylvania.
Upon Leonard’s death in 1989, Howard was named President and continued to expand his role in the years to come. It was his dream to enter the Cleveland market, as he felt Pittsburgh and Cleveland were demographically and philosophically similar.
Howard familiarized himself with Cleveland by spending hours driving through all the neighborhoods. The more Howard saw, the more he became enamored. As a tribute to his admiration, Howard added an Indians’ cap to his large collection of Pirate hats.
In 1992, the first Levin’s opened in Bedford, Ohio. Howard added another store in the Mentor area within the next months. The growth continued with a third opening in Middleburg Heights, fulfilling his wish to be present on the Western side of Cleveland. Two weeks after the third opening, Howard died suddenly at the age of 40.
Robert Levin, Howard’s younger brother, ventured from Washington D.C. to take over the duties and demands of the nine furniture stores and eventually growing Levin’s to the 18 stores it is today. Robert is the current president and continues his brother’s dream and traditions of his grandfather, father and mother by maintaining the family tradition of service, quality and competitive pricing for our customers.