Since 1962, Bouffard’s Furniture & Carpet has been a fixture in Farmington. Owner Jim Bouffard and his family have seen the region grow and prosper. His father opened the store in downtown Farmington, but the place grew so quickly, he needed to find a lot more space. In 1968, he moved the business to its new location on Route 4, which blossomed over the past 50 years as a popular destination for shoppers.

“There was nothing here back then,” he said, looking out the window at the four busy lanes of traffic passing the Mt. Blue Plaza.

After high school, Bouffard served in Vietnam and came home to rejoin the family business full time in 1971. He said he remains dedicated to selling quality furniture, even though he competes with big box stores selling lower-priced pieces made overseas from composite materials. Flex steel sofas are made well, built to last and are extremely comfortable, he said.

The original company started in 1893 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the American-made quality hasn’t changed, according to Bouffard. His showroom features quality and style that he said he is proud to sell.

“We’re not like those ‘dollar’ stores,” he said. “We don’t sell the imported stuff that doesn’t last very long.”

His experienced sales staff includes Alton Kennedy and Laurie Bladgett, both of whom have been with the company for many years. When customers come through the door, there’s usually some friendly conversation first, with lots of family updates, talk about weather, vacation plans and news and photos of everyone’s children.

He also carries more than 100 rolls of carpet in stock, as well as rolls of vinyl flooring in dozens of choices of colors and styles.

“We sell and install all kinds of carpet and other types of flooring,” he said.

Berber remains the most popular carpet choice, because it’s affordable, easy to clean and durable, he said. He sends his delivery crew all over Franklin County and most of Somerset, Kennebec and Androscoggin counties.

The crew brings the new furniture and take away the old furniture, if customers request that service. They also will make sure any more complex furniture, such as motorized chairs, operate properly and that customers know how to use them. These increasingly popular recliners move the sitter smoothly to a standing or sitting position. It’s not that people are lazier, he explained. They may have arthritis or have had knee or hip surgery or an injury that reduces their mobility.

“If anything goes wrong, we’ll come back and fix it,” Bouffard said. “That’s what sets us apart from some of the big box stores.”

Bouffard enjoys helping younger customers who want to furnish their new homes or apartments, including arranging affordable financing. His older customers often are shopping for more specialized options.

Bouffard has enthusiastic fans who wouldn’t think of shopping anywhere else. He gets rave reviews on the company’s Facebook page. One recent post from a happy customer said, “You guys ROCK! Not only did you find us the perfect chair for mom’s recovery, but when it wasn’t operating right, you sent guys over to fix the chair! Simple fix, nothing at all wrong with the chair, but your men not only fixed the issue, but talked with mom about it making her feel better about the issue! Mom was very happy to be treated like a person! Again, you guys ROCK! Great furniture, GREAT service! Oh, and she loves the Green!”

Bouffard said that the local economy always has been important to support and he appreciates the way others have supported him. He remains active as a long-time member of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, serving in the past as a board member and also recruiting many members over the years.