November 1908 ~ "Formal Opening of Archbold’s New Furniture Store, Rowe & Rupp Co. Every person who visits our store will be given a ticket on a fine Mohair Davenport, which will be given away absolutely free."
So reads the advertising postcard announcing the beginning of Rupp Furniture Company 100 years ago.
The furniture business of Rowe & Rupp was established by four partners: Frank Rowe, Lewis Rupp, and brothers Albert and Edward Rupp. They set up shop in Archbold on North Defiance Street in the building that now houses the Locker Room.
Two years later, the Rupp brothers, including Peter Rupp, took over the business and changed the name to Rupp Furniture & Undertaking.
Peter’s weekly salary was $12.50.
They continued the undertaking business for another 20 years. Caskets were stored on the second floor of the current Huntington Bank building.
Over the years the store moved several times, added relatives to the business, and opened stores in other towns.
David Rupp Sr.
Many area residents remember the late David Rupp, Sr., who joined the family business in 1935.
He was just out of high school and became responsible for sales, deliveries, and custodial work.
At that time, Rupp Furniture had stores in Archbold, Wauseon, and Ridgeville Corners.
The old Lauber Mercantile building became available in 1953, and Rupp Furniture Company moved to its present location on North Defiance Street.
The grand opening advertised furniture and area rugs in the Archbold Buckeye. Pete and Dave allowed customers to make monthly payments of $10 for furniture purchased.
Repeat customers even came from as far away as Toledo, based on word-of-mouth advertising, prices, and customer service.
Merchandise grew to include carpet, accessories, appliances and televisions.
Company history says Dave remembered Rupp Furniture as the first Archbold business to sell TV sets. One was even left on in the front window at night so people could watch.
Eventually, it had to be turned off to avoid the danger of the crowd possibly breaking the front window.
Then, in 1959, Peter sold his interest to son William, who had just returned from the Navy. William oversaw the expansion of the Archbold store into three floors of retail space.
In the 1960s, there were additional stores in Stryker, Hicksville, Napoleon, and Bryan. The Bryan and Archbold stores remain today.
Tony, Dave Rupp’s son, and Tim Rupp, William Rupp’s nephew, purchased shares in 1972 to become partners in the family business.
Upon retiring in 1985 after 50 years with the company, Dave Rupp sold his remaining shares to his son, Phil.
One hundred years after that first mohair davenport was given away, Bill, Tony, Tim, and Phil Rupp continue to provide quality furniture and outstanding service to the community.