In business since 1919 with the first store opening in Grand Falls, Cohen's now boasts more than 80 employees in 11 Corporate and 2 Franchise Stores throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Cohen's remains a family business and is known to its customers for providing a wide selection of quality furniture, bedding, appliances, electronics and accessories.
From design to delivery, Cohen's promise is to help people create their dream homes on a budget they can live with while making the process of getting there fun and easy.
The company's early beginning dates back to Simon Cohen's arrival in Newfoundland, together with his wife and three sons. He worked with the company for a few years, but left to try business on his own terms. Mr. Cohen left the island in 1905 and immigrated to the United States, where his four remaining children were born.
In 1919, soon after the end of the First World War, the Cohen family returned to Newfoundland. That year Simon and his eldest son, Charles, opened a general store in Grand Falls Station, which later became the Town of Windsor. The second son, Arthur, soon joined the business. As the store became established, the family bought its own building and was joined in business by the other sons, Michael, Jack and Maurice.
With offering customers quality products at affordable prices upper most on the owners' minds, the business continued to grow, and eventually Simon Cohen retired and left the operation to his sons.
Charles soon left to open a general store in Wabana, Bell Island, and Arthur opened a five-and-dime store in Corner Brook. Michael, as the third son, became General Manager of the family business. He began working on a new store, but a fire that swept through the business section of Windsor a few weeks before Christmas of 1945 destroyed the building.
In August of 1946 the expanded store was opened, but a few months later, at age 42, Michael died of a heart attack. Jack became General Manager of the firm, and two years later Michael's son, Boyd joined the firm. He introduced furniture into the product line. In 1953, the store was expanded to include a separate furniture department, and Boyd began importing railroad cars full of furniture from across Canada and the United States. Bulk buying increased the company's profitability and in 1956 allowed them to expand again to High Street, the downtown core of Grand Falls.
Boyd Cohen ran the new store, Cohen's Home Furnishings. In 1958 the firm expanded to Gander using its high-volume buying approach, and was soon opening stores in Springdale, Clarenville and Baie Verte. In 1975, Cohen's opened a large store and warehouse, on Cromer Avenue in Grand Falls. With another, larger warehouse, which was built across the street, and several tractor-trailers, Boyd Cohen was able to keep his chain supplied from one central location.
By 1985 the chain had grown so much that Mr. Cohen decided if it were to get any larger it would need an infusion of outside capital. He considered taking on a partner, but eventually decided the best course of action was to sell the business and stay on as Managing Director. He eventually decided on Charles R. Bell Ltd., because it was an established Newfoundland firm that would take a hands-on approach to the business.