The furniture store on the corner of Sheep Pasture Road and Main Street in upper Port Jefferson turned its owner’s American Dream into reality, but after 26 years in business, 8 Futons is preparing to close its doors.
Joseph Rezvani, a Port Jeff resident who immigrated to the United States from Iran in the 1960s when he was 18 got his start in the futon business in 1989, back then operating out of the garage of his home, before opening his store in Port Jeff in 1992. He owns the building that houses 8 Futons and said he’s not sure yet if he’ll rent it to a new tenant or if his wife would move her nail salon to the location. He attributed his decision to close to a number of factors — a desire to spend more time with his grandchildren, a decline in business precipitated by more online and chain store options and an ever-growing number of empty storefronts in 8 Futons’ direct vicinity.
“Doing business with Joe is like doing business with your best friend. He’s interested in what I need and what I want.”
— Donna Karol
The store was known for carrying unusual, unique items like furniture and decorative pieces in specific styles, in addition to futon mattresses and frames. The business was also known for Rezvani’s willingness to find and order specific items if they weren’t in the store, helping customers replace damaged items, assisting with assembling pieces and adding a hands-on, personal sales touch from him and his staff. He told TBR News Media in a 2006 interview he always had an interest in design and started making his own frames for the futons before opening the store and offering a wider array of furniture and other home furnishing accessories.
“I have a bond with my customers — I don’t mind spending the time with them,” Rezvani said, adding that interacting regularly with his loyal customers is easily what he will miss most about his business.
Donna Karol, a Port Jeff resident shopping for a new shelfing unit on the afternoon of June 29, said she’d moved around the area several times over the years, and each time she paid Rezvani a visit to help furnish her new home.
“Doing business with Joe is like doing business with your best friend,” Karol said. “He’s interested in what I need and what I want.”
She said she first bought furniture from Rezvani 25 years ago and has even sent furniture with her kids when they went away to college over the years.
“When I saw the sign go up, I was devastated,” she said of her reaction to hearing 8 Futons was closing. “It’s the service, him personally.”
“I have a bond with my customers — I don’t mind spending the time with them.”
— Joe Rezvani
Rezvani said at times during his years uptown he felt neglected by Port Jefferson Village, though he added he appreciates the hard work Mayor Margot Garant and her team do in trying to foster a beneficial environment for businesses. The village is in the process of implementing long-planned revitalization efforts for the uptown business district, expected to get underway in the coming months.
“I understand the mayor is doing a hell of a job, but there is a little bit more that can be done,” he said. “I’ve been struggling for the last two years to stay in business. I just didn’t want to be another statistic, another empty store.”
He said he would like to see some more incentives for landlords to be able to reduce rents imposed on tenants. Rezvani said he is thinking about continuing his business without occupying the physical space on Main Street, offering customers the opportunity to buy inventory online, but only making shipping available locally in an effort to maintain his community-oriented feel.
As an immigrant, Rezvani said he’s sometimes troubled by the political rhetoric surrounding the immigration discussion.
“There’s a lot of people — the majority — that are just looking for a better opportunity, and that makes the country better,” he said. He added that he feels his desire to seek his American Dream paid off.