Forshaw: Keeping the Community Comfortable and Warm for Generations
Forshaw offers high end furnishings for the home, inside and out.
Each week, the Ladue-Frontenac Patch takes a look at a different business in Ladue or Frontenac. This week, the Business Buzz made a stop in Frontenac to speak with Joe Forshaw, one of the owners of Forshaw in Frontenac.
For 140 years, Forshaw, located at 825 Lindbergh Boulevard in Frontenac has kept the community warm and their fireplaces burning. Forshaw’s large showroom is full of beautiful, high end fireplaces, inserts and stoves. They also carry a selection of fireplace accessories. But, that’s not all. Forshaw sells a variety of other products too, including beautiful furniture for the home, a great selection of quality outdoor furniture and a variety of barbeque grills. They offer some of the best name brands in the industry.
Forshaw is a family-owned business that has been passed down from one generation to the next, each one making smart business decisions that has kept them in business through five generations.
Beginning with Joseph Forshaw, Sr. a cabinetmaker from England, each generation added more products to Forshaw’s business offerings.
Joseph Forshaw, Sr. first made wood molds for sand castings used for making coal stove parts and later cast his own parts, which made him the largest supplier of coal stove repair parts in the region. Later, his son, Joseph Forshaw, Jr., a bronze-medal winning Olympic marathon runner from the 1908 games, expanded the business to include fireplaces and fireplace fixtures. Joseph Forshaw, III and his brother-in-law L.F. DuBois added patio furniture and barbecues. They also began selling wholesale to dealers and builders. And most recently, Rick and Joe Forshaw expanded the business nationwide to a network of dealers for wood fireplace mantels and custom sheet metal products
Patch: How long have you been in business?
Forshaw: Joseph Forshaw started the business in 1871. We have been at the present location in Frontenac since 1956.
Originally, Forshaw was located downtown St. Louis.
Patch: Forshaw is a family owned business?
Forshaw: Yes. There have been five generations at Forshaw, including my nephew, Rick Forshaw, Jr., who works here now.
Rick Forshaw Jr. recently graduated from the University of Virginia with a bachelor's degree in Urban Affairs and Political Science with concentrations in Commerce, Finance, Accounting, Economics and Chinese. While at the university, he was president of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.
Patch: Will Rick Jr. be the next generation of Forshaw’s to take ownership of the business?
Forshaw: That’s what I think. I think he wants to. There are a few other relatives who also show an interest in ownership.
Patch: Tell me about the products you sell from your showroom.
Forshaw: We consider ourselves a high end home furnishings retailer, but we appeal to a broad demographic. We carry outdoor furniture, barbeques, fireplaces, inserts and fixtures. We have undecorated Christmas trees at the front of the store beginning about October through the Christmas season.
Patch: I noticed the outdoor furniture looks like high quality products. You have some beautiful things in your showroom.
Forshaw: Sometimes people buy outdoor furniture from other places that is not as good of quality as we carry. The chair or table may loose a screw or begin to fall apart and they cannot get replacement parts or repairs. They just have to throw it out. Then they come here. With us, they know they are getting much better quality that will last a long time.
Patch: Do you make repairs on site?
Forshaw: We offer in house service, but not repairs. We help our customers with warranties. We can get replacement parts and the manufacturer can usually help us with that.
Patch: How much space does your business occupy?
Forshaw: Our showroom is 25,000 square feet and our warehouse is about 45,000 square feet. We have another building we use for commercial business that is 60,000.
Patch: How many employees to you have?
Forshaw: We have 55 employees, including service, sales, office personnel, national outside salesmen for builder’s, support staff for that and delivery drivers.
Patch: How has the economy affected your national builder’s business?
Forshaw: It’s a fact that the economy has affected home builders nationally. We have weathered the economic changes.
Patch: Your business is multi-generational. Are your customers multi-generational as well?
Forshaw: We have people who come here whose parents or grandparents shop here. You know, people in St. Louis often stay here. Kansas City is different, but here people don’t leave as often.
Patch: Is your business seasonal?
Forshaw: We sell more outdoor furniture and barbeques beginning in February through Labor Day. And we sell more fireplaces and inserts from October through March.
Hours of operation: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday: 10:00 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Friday: 10:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Sundays: Noon-5:00 p.m.
Forshaw: 825 Lindbergh Boulevard in Frontenac, for more information call 314-993-5570.
About this column: About businesses in Ladue and Frontenac