Claerbout Furniture and Flooring is a local retailer that has graced Cedar Grove’s Main Street since Elmer Claerbout opened for business in 1953. It offers a variety of flooring, from carpet to hardwood, as well as a wide variety of couches, recliners, coffee tables, end tables, and décor- anything you need to beautifully update your living spaces.
It’s a rare feat to keep a business going strong for 68 years, but as current owner, Mike Wolfe, explains, “quality and service is what sets us apart from big box stores.”
Wolfe and his wife, Rachel, have owned Claerbout for just a little more than a year. While Rachel spends her days working as a nurse and director of Cedar Bay in Elkhart Lake, Mike is in charge of the daily operations. The chance to purchase Claerbout was a unique opportunity that came about at just the right time in his life.
Mike’s background is as an engine specialist. In 2007, he worked for GM, where he was the #1 electrical technician of the year in the Midwest. He then worked for Fed Ex Express, where he got into working with diesel engines. After five years he accepted a job with Penske where he was able to take the amount of work sent out from 37% to .1% before accepting a job managing 200 trucks as the senior district fleet manager for Waste Management in Milwaukee. He was skilled at what he did, but the hours were not conducive to his life as a father, raising four children, ages two to 15.
His wife’s aunt and uncle, Dennis and Sheila Kappers, who had purchased the store 28 years ago from Elmer’s son, Warren Claerbout, had recently listed the store for sale, and it felt like the right option at the right time for Mike.
“All the money in the world doesn’t make up for not seeing your kids,” says Mike. “I was ready for something new and I didn’t mind not starting trucks in 30 degree below weather every morning,” he grins.
Wolfe purchased the store from the Kappers’ in November 2019. Kappers’ wife Sheila still works there today.
There was a bit of a learning process involved. Mike had to learn how to measure houses for carpet and flooring, but says the installers were all very helpful. Today, Mike takes pride in ensuring every customer feels important and cared for.
Claerbout Furniture & Flooring provides free quotes and consultations, free delivery, and will even pick up your old furniture, (which is then donated to First Reformed Church, which delivers it to Milwaukee families in need.). Claerbout Furniture & Flooring is located at 335 South Main Street in Cedar Grove. They can be reached at (920) 668-6416 or online at http://www.claerboutfurniture-flooring.com