KJ Gleason says he often considers his work as an interior design consultant closer to a design therapist. He sits down with clients and asks tough questions, and just like a real therapist, the answers to those questions often lie “inside of you” and just need to be pulled out, he says.
Gleason has worked at Edelman Design since 2019, when he joined after reaching an agreement with owner Tom Edelman. At that time the store was called Edelman Furniture but has since changed its name and revamped its image.
November will mark the 75th anniversary of the store which has become a staple on West Marshall Avenue in Longview.
Edelman’s father and uncle, Ray and Howard Edelman, started in 1947 what was first known as the Greggton Furniture Co.
The store was across from where it is now at 3413 W. Marshall Ave. in a building that now houses the Greggton Antique Mall.
In 1962, the Edelman brothers built a new building across the street and renamed it Edelman’s Greggton Furniture.
In 1987, Tom Edelman took over the 10,000 square foot building, and it eventually took the name Edelman Furniture until it changed in 2019.
Gleason said Edelman was considering closing the store when he met him.
“I knew in its current iteration it wouldn’t be successful — it was a dying thing,” Gleason said. “So in order to breathe new life into it, we made it more design-driven.”
Comparing interior design to what therapists do, Gleason said he wants to help clients find what they want and help them make decisions so that when they’re not in advisor”, they can make these choices for themselves.
“I teach people and try to help them learn how to approach their project, their room, their home, their entire scope of design – from door to back door… What’s the experience you want live here ?” Gleason said.
He considers the process immersive with the details and intricacies of the client’s design preferences as well as his expertise in the design information.
Next to Gleason’s desk is a bookshelf filled with books on design, patterns, arrangements and more. He often uses the texts to help customers who may not know what they’re looking for or find a certain style they like and want to know more about, he said.
“Not everyone is going to buy here, and we understand that. What we are looking for is to effect change, to increase the scale of design that is offered in our region and the approach to the product,” said Gleason.
During a tour of the store, Gleason stops and points out specific items of interest and explains how pieces can bring a room together, or how arrangement can make a space feel bigger or smaller. than it really is. While the store previously specialized in beds and even sold appliances and flooring at one point, it moved into design and layout.
Despite the changes that have been made to the company, one thing has remained the same: its commitment to providing quality products and service to customers, Edelman said.
“We’re going to be directing more towards quality than looks,” Edelman said. “We want to try to sell good quality furniture and…other areas like bedding and other accessories.”
He added that the shift to design was meant to follow the direction customers and manufacturers seemed to be heading. That the store is constantly evolving and progressing is just a reflection of what the store started with, he said.
“We’ve always tried to do a good job with the best we can find and the best resources,” Edelman said.