In March, South Texas furniture fixture Lacks Valley Stores celebrated 85 years since its inception. Founded by Russian immigrant Sam Lack in 1935, the company got its start as an auto parts supply store. How did a small auto parts supply store transform into a successful furniture chain? According to Kris Karr, director of communications at Lacks, the change started during World War II, when there was a shortage of parts due to the rationing mandates at the time. Instead, Sam Lack turned to other goods, such as jewelry, small appliances, lawnmowers, and other household items to stay in business. “Then, little by little, Mr. Lack phased out those items and started bringing more furniture in,” Karr said.
In the 1960s, under the direction of new general manager Al Moffitt, the furniture store saw further expansion. Then in the mid 90’s, he and Myles Aaronson, Sam Lack’s son-in-law, worked together to bring their vision of the Lacks Galleria to life. Karr said that this new concept was designed to take the merchandise display to the next-level by “inspiring the customers with fully accessorized showrooms and a wider selection of stylish furniture.” Now, Lacks Gallerias can be found across South Texas, not only in McAllen but as far as Brownsville and Laredo.
In celebration of its 85th anniversary, Lacks has renovated its McAllen Galleria in conjunction with unveiling a new line of furniture from Harp & Finial.
“As the biggest furniture store in South Texas, Lacks Furniture Galleria has set trends for the last 25 years in both home furniture and retail experience.” Lacks CMO, Seth Aaronson said. “The team from Harp & Finial are great people and the right partners to continue delivering the furniture shopping experiences our customers expect at Lacks.”
In addition to these exciting changes, Lacks has been busy helping grow the place where it put down roots over the last several decades. Myles Aaronson and his wife, Sylvia, Sam Lack’s daughter, were very active members in their community, and service became part of the company culture.
“Community outreach has always been part of what the Lacks family is passionate about,” Karr said. “Sam Lack was a member of the Chamber at the time and was very much involved in the community.”
One specific initiative that Lacks has supported included raising funds for a UTRGV campaign that focused on educating elementary students between second and fourth grades on diabetes awareness. The campaign targeted this age group to teach them healthy eating habits and make them aware of the cause and effects of diabetes so they can be prepared to manage their own health at an early age. Lacks has also been significantly involved with the American Cancer Society participating in their community outreach events.
An 85th anniversary gives Lacks a lot to look back on, but the company also has a bright future ahead with new plans for growth, change, and adjustment. This has required some flexibility on the part of the company and its employees.
“We’re an older company, so we’ve had to really take a look at all our processes, how we present ourselves, how we do things internally, and say ‘OK, what do we need to change so that we can better serve our customers?’” Karr said.
She added that there have already been a lot of changes recently, such as updating their website in 2016 and putting more focus on social media and digital presence. The company has been able to adjust to the new ways customers are shopping and is in a very good place for growth.
“We’re family. We’re going to stick together; we’re going to get through challenges,” Karr said.
On March 23, the Lacks team made the decision to temporarily close all its retail stores and supporting units in response to the COVID-19 crisis. The Aaronson family stays committed to protecting the health and safety of Lacks employees, customers, and communities during this difficult time. Individuals with Lacks accounts will continue to receive support through Lacks.com, and emergency appliance service is available by emailing AandEservice@lacksvalley.com.
“Life as we know it has been impacted and will continue to be over the coming weeks,” CEO Lee Aaronson wrote in a letter to the public. “It is our responsibility as a community to slow the spread of coronavirus by making uncomfortable sacrifices now.”
Lacks stands by, ready to act on recommendations and mandates by health and public officials as the situation develops.
Karr explained that everyone within the company is ready for what’s to come.
“We’re under the fourth generation leadership, our new CMO Seth Aaronson, is the son of our CEO, Lee Aaronson,” she said. “And he is very passionate about taking our company forward and becoming relevant to what our market expects nowadays.”
All of these changes are in effort to maintain Lacks’ presence as a relevant furniture company that is considerate of what its market wants and needs.
“Lacks is a family-owned and operated company,” Karr said. “We really care about our employees and our customers. We also feel like our customers are our family, as well. Therefore, we treat them like family.”
For more information about Lacks, visit lacks.com.