Furniture is their specialty: Danco Modern in Hatfield turns 50, eyes continuation of storied history

  • Danco Modern co-owners Miguel Candelaria, left, Emily Luippold and Ross Grant, bought the Hatfield furniture store four years ago. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Danco Modern, a furniture store with deep roots in the region, is located on West Street in Hatfield. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Danco Modern co-owners Miguel Candelaria, left, Emily Luippold and Ross Grant, bought the Hatfield furniture store four years ago. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Furniture at Danco Modern in Hatfield. The store’s owners say the business sells mostly custom furniture and accessories. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Furniture at Danco Modern in Hatfield. The store’s owners say the business sells mostly custom furniture and accessories. STAFF PHOTOS/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Furniture at Danco Modern in Hatfield. The store’s owners say the business sells mostly custom furniture and accessories. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Emily Luippold and Ross Grant, co-owners of Danco Modern in Hatfield, look through leather samples. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 8/4/2021 3:50:09 PM

HATFIELD — Danco Modern, a Pioneer Valley furniture store, is marking 50 years this year. And the furniture store’s three owners, all former employees and all younger than the business itself, aren’t content to see the business stand still.

“We’re looking to grow,” said Miguel Candelaria Jr., 45.

Each of the three owners had a different pathway to Danco. Candelaria, who was born in Northampton, grew up in Easthampton and lives in Florence, started his career with the company in 2011 moving furniture.

Emily Luippold, 39, meanwhile, started at Danco as a designer, after spending time as a stay-at-home mom in Erving, the community where she grew up.

Ross Grant, 46, the third owner, started his time with Danco as a consultant in 2010, transitioning into the role of employee over time.

Grant grew up in Arizona and was first exposed to the Valley when he was in grad school. A former journalist, Grant has worked for both the Greenfield Recorder and The Republican.

When Danco was founded in 1971 by husband and wife Dan and Joan Haugaard it had two locations, a gift shop on Green Street in Northampton and a converted potato barn in Hatfield out of which Scandinavian furniture, rugs and lamps were sold.

“It got so tightly cluttered you couldn’t walk through the space,” Grant said.

Danco then moved to the Florence Silk Mill, before moving to its current location in West Hatfield, a former Agway, where it has been located ever since.

Luippold and Candelaria both said that Grant was the organizing force behind their decision to buy the establishment, and the three have owned Danco for four years. Their purchase continued a tradition, as they bought it from longtime employee Peter Knapp.

“The atmosphere is very like a little family anyway,” Luippold said. “It’s almost natural to keep it in that family.”

Luippold heads design, Candelaria handles the back of the house and is the service manager and Grant handles marketing. Counting the three of them, the business has nine employees.

Grant noted that, unlike a number of other furniture stores, no one works on commission at Danco.

“It’s not about sell, sell, sell,” Grant said. “We’re more consultants.”

Grant also said that employees tend to stay for the long haul at Danco.

“We have someone whose worked here for more than 30 years,” he said.

Product variety

While Danco offers furniture from Scandinavia, its product line also includes furniture that’s made in North Carolina, China and Canada, along with high-tech furniture, including couches where each section can be adjusted for individual comfort levels.

“You could have everyone have their own preferences,” Grant said.

Also offered are massage chairs and zero-gravity chairs, which can hang the sitter upside down. Grant said that Danco has had meetings with the participants in this position.

Grant said the massage chairs were initially available because he wanted to use them, and to give customers the perk of a massage when they visit the store.

“You get a 15-minute massage, it changes your whole day,” he said.

Since then, Grant said that people have shown a willingness to purchase massage chairs.

Though the pandemic forced Danco to close for three months, business soon picked up when it reopened. “From this time last year until now we really haven’t had a slow period,” Grant said.

The vast majority of products that Danco sells are custom-ordered to customer specifications.

“Most of what we sell is custom furniture rather than stocked furniture,” Grant said.

In addition to selling from its store, Danco also has an online business.

“That’s an area that continues to be a growth area,” Grant said. “More and more people are willing to buy furniture online.”

The company also delivers and installs its furniture to customers as far away as Connecticut, Vermont and New York. Danco also ships furniture all around the country, as far away as Alaska and the west coast, subcontracting out the service in those locations.

Candelaria oversees the delivery portion of the business, and he said that having once been a furniture delivery person for Danco himself helps him to set up those jobs.

In the 1980s, Danco expanded from one to nine stores. However, by the 1990s, only three such stores were in operation.

“They expanded too fast,” Grant said.

The Hatfield store ended up being bought by a Houston chain, which renamed the store Danish Inspirations. When Knapp bought the store in 2007, he changed the name back to Danco.

Danco’s current owners are interested in expanding the business, possibly with a second location. However, they’re not interested in over-expanding and intend to keep their current location, with Grant noting that the highway attracts out-of-state customers as well.

“It’s not just a local business it’s a regional business already,” Grant said.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.




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