The History of Praetzel’s Fine Furniture
Praetzel’s Fine Furniture has a great history as one of the oldest furniture stores in Sonoma County. It was 1950, and the family’s Petaluma chicken business was hitting hard times when Bertha Praetzel, mother of six, placed a small ad in the Petaluma newspaper, hoping to sell a few pieces of unwanted furniture in order to make ends meet. People came in droves to see the advertised items – a double-bed box spring mattress for $6.50 and a walnut bed and large chest of drawers for $27.50.
In the ensuing months, Bertha kept advertising and met with similar success, eventually depleting the supply of furniture in her garage. Soon her husband, Desmond, fell upon the idea of buying furniture at auctions, storing it in the chicken houses and then reselling it. They didn’t know then that this new business they’d happened into so unexpectedly would survive to become the second oldest furniture business in Sonoma County.
Still located on Bodega Highway at the spot where Bertha had that first “garage sale” and where her grandfather, a gold miner, had settled in 1870, Praetzel’s has been run by her son, Paul, since 1975 and recently added a very talented ASID certified Interior Designer, Anne Alderson, to the mix.
Paul has great affection and a great regard for his mother. “When I was 12 or so, Mom used to take me to the San Francisco Furniture Mart with her. She knew so much about decorating, and when people needed something special, they were always asking Mom because she knew all the sources. I learned so much from her.”
Praetzel’s is still known for selling consistently better quality furniture at a fair price – just as it did in those early days when it was called The Ranch Storehouse and the motto was “Quality Furniture at Country Prices.”
But today, Paul proudly emphasizes the design services Praetzel’s provides as well:
“A customer may come in to buy a single accessory, yet we’re willing to spend considerable time – and even visit their home – in order to help them find just the right item. And whether we redecorate an entire house or help a customer hang pictures, we don’t charge for our services. You just can’t find that kind of personalized service except in a family business like ours.”
Paul, whose enthusiasm for his work shows in his easy smile, adds, “Sometimes we even go shopping at other stores with our customers. Most of all, we want them to know that furniture buying should be fun.” Bertha agreed, “I woke up every day knowing I loved my work and I never, never got tired of it.”
The Praetzel’s Time Line:
- Praetzel’s Fine Furniture began in 1950 by Mom and Dad Praetzel, called The Ranch Storehouse.
- Within 3 years, Northern Californians were buzzing with talk of the new furniture found at a place that was once a busy chicken house.
- By late 1965, when larger showrooms were added, we became the largest furniture store between the Golden Gate and Portland.
- 1974 began the evolution to what is now known as Praetzel’s Fine Furniture, as Paul took over the business full time
Interior Design has always been a part of Praetzel’s but today, you can work with our A.S.I.D. certified Interior Designers to not only find the right furniture for your home or office but also the perfect look.
Praetzels also carries traditional and tempflow mattresses. They are mattress experts, paying close attention to brands that sag and what makes a long lasting mattress for you.
Praetzel’s Fine Furniture, one of the most popular furniture stores in Sonoma County – stylish furnishings and homespun service.