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posted: 6/12/2012 5:54 PM

Honquest to retire; stores closing later this year

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  • Richard Honquest

      Richard Honquest

  • Rachel and Richard Honquest stand at the Honquest store in Barrington in this 2008 file photo.

       Rachel and Richard Honquest stand at the Honquest store in Barrington in this 2008 file photo.
    DANIEL WHITE | Staff Photographer

  • Rachel and Richard Honquest pose at the Honquest store in Barrington in this 2008 file photo.

       Rachel and Richard Honquest pose at the Honquest store in Barrington in this 2008 file photo.
    DANIEL WHITE | Staff Photographer


Richard Honquest, owner and CEO of Honquest Furniture for Living, is retiring after 52 year in the furniture business.

The longtime retailer plans to close his Barrington and Whitefish Bay, Wis., stores and warehouse by the end of the year. The closures affect about 50 workers, a company spokeswoman said.

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A $6 Million Dollar Store Closing Sale at the showroom, 1455 S. Barrington Road (at Dundee Road), starts Friday. The store's office and warehouse will remain open through the end of the year.

"Honquest has been a wonderful business in our community and we wish them well in their retirement," said Barrington village President Karen Darch, adding that she's purchased some pieces there.

"They've worked very hard and have provided wonderful furniture over the years," she said.

Honquest was not immediately available for comment, but said in a statement that it was just time to retire. The store's website also features his letter to customers.

"This letter goes out to you with many mixed feelings announcing the end of an era," Honquest said in a statement. "Within these past 52 years, I have seen many changes in consumer buying habits and personal tastes. Evolution is constant. I am happy to have served our customers over these many years, and thank all of you for your business support. However, evolution continues for me in the form of retirement."

Honquest and his wife, Rachel, the company's president, operated the 60,000-square-foot Barrington Road store by selling high-end furniture, accessories, lamps, Oriental rugs, carpet, window treatments and mattresses.

Stock was from such major manufacturers as American Leather, Bradington Young, Marge Carson, Century, Hancock & Moore, Harden, Henkel Harris, Hickory Chair, Lillian August, Shifman Mattress, Thayer Coggin and others.

Also, the Honquest Furniture for Living in Whitefish Bay, Wis., which opened in January, is being sold.

In 1960. Richard Honquest launched a custom drapery service from the back of his station wagon. In his search for business, Honquest landed a contract to provide draperies for the model homes then going up in developing Elk Grove Village, according to a statement.

Honquest began ringing doorbells as new houses were built. Having outgrown the back of the station wagon, he purchased an old general store in Addison and opened a drapery workroom, offices and a small display area, which became his first interior design studio, the statement said.

Honquest soon was doing work in model homes for developers throughout the area, New York, New Jersey, Arizona and Florida, which caught the attention of the media.

A move to the Ice House Mall in Barrington in 1976 strengthened Honquest's reputation for selling fine home furnishings and accessories along with professional interior design services, the statement said.

In 1984, the first phase of the present Barrington Road building opened. Three years later, the showroom was expanded and an on-site warehouse added.

Then in 1993, a second floor was added above the parking lot, expanding the total space to 60,000 square feet and a warehouse with 24,000 square feet.

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