"Staying fresh, young and relevant is how we're going to sustain the brand into the next 75 years," Meghan said. Spoken like the daughter of a true shop owner, as her father Walter E. Smithe III, president of the eponymous furniture retailer calls himself. 1251 W. Thorndale Ave. Itasca, IL 60143-1149. What are they up to?' Its a constant toggle between work and family talk, notes Colleen, but at the end of the day theyre focused on creating a furniture company that helps clients truly curate a home. Others have been parodies of reality television shows, such as The Apprentice and The Bachelor. Those early Smithe commercials were straight-forward affairs, with each brother talking about his area of expertise -- Walt discussed the merchandise, Tim the company's designers, and Mark Smithe's delivery system and customer satisfaction -- and, of course, the furniture. "I said, `Let's get you guys on camera.'". I love the one where they are drinking what looks like Tang out of wine glasses. Shop the clearance. They seem very pretentious I think. He also hosted telethons. The company makes, sells, and repairs furniture, specializing in custom upholstery, and operates ten showrooms throughout the Chicago metropolitan area. When they get a topic, Smithe says, he tries to figure a way to blend it into an ad. "[5] Of the commercials, Tim Smithe has said, "We wanted to entertain people first, so then when we wanted to inform them they'd already be paying attention". The commercial, Colleen's brainchild, aimed to show off the company's new "worry-free" performance fabrics that repel stains, a trend Maureen recognized at a major industry trade show and brought back to the Chicago market. CHICAGO (CBS) -- Walter Edward Smithe Jr., the founder of Chicago's Walter E. Smithe Furniture & Design, has died at the age of 86. The company has become known over the years in particular for its quirky TV commercials Chicago TV viewers have long known the jingle, "Walter E. Smithe, you dream it we build it." "They go a long way with a limited budget through the use of creativity," he says. About. Walter Smithe, president of the furniture company, climbs the stairs March 21, 2017, at the Walter E. Smithe furniture store in Oak Brook, alongside his four daughters, Colleen, from left, Caitie, Maureen and Meghan. It was founded by Walter Edward Smithe and Bill Shanahan in 1945. This began a long series of lighthearted television commercials, which became increasingly elaborate over the next few years. The implication was that he was doing/looking at something inappropriate. Explore. That can help Walter E. Smithe differentiate itself from the growing number of lower-priced furniture retailers that have moved into the Chicago area in the past couple of years, Walter Smithe said. With a 71-year history and 11 stores sprinkled throughout Chicago and the suburbs, Walter E. Smithe is a local furniture icon. Walter Smithe, president of the furniture company, climbs the stairs March 21, 2017, at the Walter E. Smithe furniture store in Oak Brook, alongside his four daughters, Colleen, from left, Caitie . People are buying a look, but they want it to feel curated and personal., Its up to Maureen and Caitie to monitor the market, make sure the showroom reflects current palettes, while staying a few steps ahead of what is currently trending. Start shopping. You may have noticed a change lately in those Walter E. Smithe . We simply never had that conversation, Meghan says. Only a year apart in age, the lively, fast-talking Smithe sisters consider one another best friends. Walter E. Smithe Furniture & Design advertising has featured everything from parodies of "The Price Is Right" to a 2013 classic in which the Smithe brothers got into a wrestling ring with Billy Corgan. Sometimes its the only quiet I get.. Also would somebody please feed them? Their grandfather, who is in his 80s, remains active in the company, frequently visiting showrooms and making connections with clients. It couldn't have gone more perfectly, Maureen said. Dazzling Divas Glam Mansion Offers the Ultimate Diva Experience, Family Guide to Attending a Chicago Cubs Game at Wrigley Field, Pelvic Floor Therapy Growing in Popularity for Women, 10 Non-Candy Items for Your Kids Easter Basket. Revenue: $100 to $500 million (USD) Competitors: Linly Designs, Rieke Office Interiors, 57st Design. - The Victory Auto Wreckers guy: Almost every night since 1981, on some channel, Bob Zajdel has barely escaped injury when the driver's door fell off his old Chevy. The Walter E. Smithe furniture jingle "you dream it, we build it" has been a longtime fixture in the firm's television ads, just as the Smithe brothers themselves have been. At-a-glance. Touch device users, explore by touch or with swipe gestures. As they grew into their teens, there were the usual summer jobs -- caddying, yard work, selling ice cream from a motorized three-wheeler. "In what seems to be their unending and over-the-top zeal to self-promote, they just may be helping drive traffic," he wrote, adding, "If nothing else, the advertising suggests the chain has some suits with personality attached. Lewis Lazare. A few bucks later, the clunker is off to Victory's Bensenville lot. "That's F-A-M-E, with an E". 9's "Garfield Goose" and "Ray Rayner" shows. Read on to find out more about pelvic floor therapy and how it's growing in popularity among postpartum women. Along the way, they got married, had children (17 in all!) We learned so much from these relationships, Colleen says. Rocketreach finds email, phone & social media for 450M+ professionals. They've been able to weather the unexpected storm of the coronavirus pandemic. The two renamed the store Smithe and Shanahan, but Bill Shanahan eventually sold his share to Smithe's brother Charlie. Walter Smithe III and Mark Smithe (the Smithe Brothers) are the sons of Walter Jr, and serve as President and VP/Legal Counsel, respectively. How, they wondered, would longtime customers respond to four new female faces on their television screens? I was probably in elementary school when I would come in to work in the warehouse, sweeping for a nickel, Colleen says of the brand, which first opened in 1945. While their father and grandfather are still actively involved in the day-to-day, the women have taken over the companys marketing, design, advertising and buying effortsand immediately went about altering brand perceptions. The fourth generation of Smithe leadership is hoping that this young, fresh approach to advertising and marketing will resonate with a consumer base that hasnt yet shopped with Smithe before. and runners at CB2 (800 W. North Ave., cb2.com). (847) 933-1481. Brothers Walt, Tim and Mark Smithe -- the faces of Walter E. Smithe Furniture -- seem to have hit on something with their ubiquitous ads. "He'd come up from behind and drop in it on us," Tim says. She sounds annoyed that the spill isn't absorbing, like there's some insurance scheme that hinges on being able to stain this white couch. I gave up sleep and TV, Maureen jokes. My sisters and I loved being a part of it.. We all trickled back in, and it happened really organically, says Meghan of the industrious quartet, who collectively has 17 children. Edit: I have been informed that they are the daughters, not the wives. "We're all rolling up our sleeves and getting dirty. During a stint in the Army, Smithe attained the rank of captain and became an expert in the field of computers. USA. Multi Location Business. Now, the Itasca-based furniture and interior design company wants you to get to know the Smithe sisters. Sometimes we present to our dad as a united front and other times we need him to be a tie breaker. So, somewhat reluctantly, they let themselves become the public face of Walter E. Smithe Furniture. No surprise why the quality is so crap. Smithe says that doing everything in-house allows them to be quick on their feet. The Bob's puppet is a far better actor than the Smithe girls though. walter e smithe furniture - inc. walter e smithe furniture. "The girls have all worked elsewhere before coming back to Smithe," says Walter of his daughters who have had careers ranging from merchandising to advertising. The Smithe brothers commercials Chicagoans are used to were great for getting the Walter E. Smithe name out, but the new ads put the focus back on the furniture and design services, said Meghan Smithe. We feel like we can now speak to the multitude of generations who shop with us, she says. "Smithes have fun at the old ballpark". The best commercial -- at least the one viewers relished -- featured this grating kid getting hit in the face with a pie. Meghan was hired in 2013 and now serves as director of sales strategy. PHOTOGRAPHY BY ROBIN SUBAR, When Maureen Smithe returned from maternity leave after giving birth to identical twin daughters last August (children number five and six for those keeping count), she was puzzled by the pained looks she received from some of her colleagues. Anyone got a link to the current commercial? - Linn Burton: He started selling appliances in Polk Bros. ads in 1953, but the majority of his 35-year TV career was spent hawking cars -- Kaisers, Frazers, Joe Rizza's Pontiacs and, most famously, Bert Weinman's Fords. Who are the Walter E Smithe daughters? The four women have been taking on bigger roles at the company and star in its new ad. The company began in 1945 as Tone Appliances and Furniture, a single store on Belmont Avenue in Chicago. You may also light a candle in honor of Walter E. Smithe Jr. or send a beautiful flower arrangement to the funeral . Margie, who used to be a buyer for Smithe, moved to St. Louis with her husband, who worked for Anheuser-Busch's ad agency. Walter Smithe, president of the furniture company named for his grandfather, is flanked by daughters, Maureen, left, and Caitie on March 21, 2017, as theywatch his other daughters Colleen, far left, and Meghan play pingpong at the Walter E. Smithe furniture store in Oak Brook. The Smithes had been encouraged to air their outtakes on television after Tim Smithe screened them at an interior design seminar and received a positive reaction from the crowd. Caitie Smithe, Designer and Stylist. As the oldest sibling, Maureen was the first to officially join Walter E. Smithe in a professional capacity in 2004. ", Instead they talk about the U2/iTunes takeoff, the brothers' version of "The Apprentice" or the Olympic parody from last year. '", "I was at a gym on a treadmill," Mark says of the first time he caught one of the commercials. While they took breaks from the biz to make their own way after college, each came back when the right positions opened up. The company makes, sells, and repairs furniture, . Courtesy of Walter E. Smithe Furniture and Design. After college, all three gravitated back to the family business, which was founded by their father. Chicago, IL. Jeff Lewis's collection of vignettes is available at Walter E. Smithe's 11 showrooms in Chicago, and online. Watch. The sisters can measure the span of their careers by their childrens ages and development, so they clearly understand what its like to worry about furniture at the mercy of young, messy children. There are so many cool and unique materials being used to manufacture furniture these dayssuch as capiz shells, bone inlay, faux shagreen, concrete, rope and slate. "By being so close and meeting so regularly, we're all in the loop with what's happening in each other's sphere. 2022 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. It said he passed away peacef We not only respect this, we embrace it.. The business grew in popularity as they approached adulthood, at which point friends would regularly sing the jingle and colleagues would ask about the creative TV ads. Then there's their father, a hardworking industry expert who leads by example and walks into any work setting saying, "We check our egos at the door.". Determine whether Walter E. Smithe Furniture grew or shrank during the last recession. Draftfcb. Its unjust to think that women can somehow balance it all, Colleen adds. As Caitie puts it, Theres no reason you cant use an entertainment console as a buffet in the dining room.. Caitie was a manufacturers' representative before becoming a stay-at-home mom. Walter E. Smithe is a family business in every sense of the word, the sisters say. Thats fast, but it shows what we can do. Hauldren -- an advertising copywriter who created the character -- first appeared in the ads in 1973. This has been our priority since we first began serving the Chicago area back in 1945. The new campaign, dubbed Smithe Family Makeovers, showcases Smithe furniture in the homes of actual clients, revealing the handiwork of the companys designers in HGTV-esque episodes. She had been a buyer for Abercrombie and Fitch for a few years after college when a job opened up in the Smithe merchandising office. ("Did you notice he used the wide-angle lens when he shot your [rear end]?"). Walter E. Smithe III, is the President of family owned and operated Walter E. Smithe Furniture + Design. It takes work and sacrifice.. Instead of starring third-generation brothers Walter III, Tim, and Mark, the new ones put the spotlight on fourth-generation sisters Caitie, Meghan, Maureen, and Colleen. As the fourth generation to run their family-owned Chicago furniture store, Walter. We understand that customers see a certain look on, say, Instagram and they want it replicated in their own home, Colleen says. "We're custom, so we can create everything, but we need to get the right mix out there to give people ideas," said Meghan Smithe, the company's director of marketing. Then they tie in pop culture it shows that they're sort of a with-it furniture company. That's why when she and her three sisters -- Maureen, Meghan and Caitie -- were asked a few years ago to transition into the role their father and uncles held for so long, they weren't immediately receptive. What she does: "I make spaces beautiful for clients' homes, our catalogs and showrooms, and play couples' therapist for clients who can't agree on a sofa." Favorite design style: Modern mixed with traditional. Let's go Cubbies! Its a tough balance, but I like figuring out the retail puzzle.. Falling asleep. Darvin is always yelling about discounts. No outside agency required. About Press Copyright Contact us Creators Advertise Developers Terms Privacy Policy & Safety How YouTube works Test new features Press Copyright Contact us Creators . As teens, the four sisters worked only part time in their fathers showroom or outlet store, selling furniture and earning their first paychecks along with other eager, cash-strapped teens. Explore more of the publications in our portfolio here. 443 were here. Bringing new and various textures into a room can take it from plain and lacking in interest to exciting and memorable. They got on each other's nerves and learned to talk quickly at the dinner table if they wanted to get a word in. He attended the University of Notre Dame and earned a bachelor 's . If you grew up in Chicago, you can probably hum it. If you find the right furniture, it will last even through your kids, Colleen says. The Feldco guy creeps me out more. Walter e smithe is a high end furniture store, no surprise their ads are geared towards middle aged women from high income households aka suburban moms. But when they finally decided to accept, they knew they needed to come up with a unique and effective way to introduce themselves to the Chicago market as the new faces of Walter E. Smithe. Weird. "We were kind of like dorks, geeks, growing up," Mark says. The Smithe sisters have heard it all before, and they've set out to dispel those misperceptions. Compare how recession-proof Walter E. Smithe Furniture is relative to the industry overall. This article originally appeared in the April 2019 issue of Chicago Parent. Hope, once a Smithe designer and store manager, now lives in Colorado with her husband. "Case in point, I was just this morning sketching out my first ideas for The Three Tenors, featuring, of course, the Smithe brothers in a coliseum.