Hager Furniture

Hager Furniture

Jeff Hager often hears from first-time customers that his family-operated furniture store in Palmerton is a lot bigger than it looks from the street level.

But once you’re inside, every inch of the 12,000-square-foot building is loaded with living room, family room and bedroom furniture, mattresses, floor coverings, and window treatments. Everything but curtains and a high-pressure staff itching to make a sale.

“When they come in the store, they’re going to be greeted typically by a family member, or an employee who’s been here a long time,” says Hager, president of Hager Furniture Co. at 242-48 Delaware Ave. in the heart of Palmerton’s business district.

“We just try and make them feel comfortable. You’re not going to be in an atmosphere where you’re going to feel pressured,” he says. “I hear it all the time from customers just how refreshing it is when they come in.”

It’s been that way for more than 60 years across four generations of the Hager family, a legacy started by Hager’s grandfather, Frank V. Hager Sr.

When he got out of the Navy in 1945, the patriarch went to work at Silver Furniture in Lansford. When the business’s owner decided to open a store in Palmerton, he asked Frank V. Hager Sr., who spoke Slovak, to manage it because of the borough’s large Slovakian population.

“Customers were really comfortable around him,” says Jeff Hager.

When the elder Hager decided to leave Silver Furniture around 1954 to become a welder for Air Products and Chemicals, Silver customers called him to express how much they enjoyed interacting with him, to the point of not wanting to deal with anyone else. It inspired him to get back into the furniture business.

“My grandfather had enough contacts with manufacturers that he was able to start a business out of his house for a short time,” Hager says. “Then he decided to make a go of it for himself and opened Hager furniture on Oct. 15, 1957.”

The original store was at 202 Delaware Ave., just up the street and four buildings away from the present store, which opened in 1960.

“When you walk in, it’s this one smaller building, but it actually encompasses three buildings, one of which used to be a movie theater 80 years ago before it was converted into a factory. Now it’s part of our showroom,” Hager says. “At times, it seems like a step back in time, there’s no doubt about it. But people tend to like that and the fact that we’re friendly and knowledgeable and no high pressure. We’re here to answer questions.”

When Hager Furniture Co. first opened, it was strictly furniture. When Hager’s dad, Frank Jr., came into the business, there was a market for floor coverings, which have since become a staple of the business.

But the biggest change over the past six decades has been the expansion of the company’s service area.

“Years ago, it was mainly Carbon County and maybe the northern tips of Northampton and Lehigh counties,” he says. “Now we stretch out to the entire Northampton and Lehigh counties and get into Schuylkill, Carbon, Berks, and Monroe counties.”

To accommodate that growth, the store is open seven days a week from Labor Day through Memorial Day, a change made by the Hagers eight years ago. They like to have some time off during the summer, so the store is closed on Sundays in June, July, and August.

Hager finds that more people crave doing business with establishments that are family operated and offer quality and impeccable service. Ninety percent of what Hager offers is American made, “which is the opposite of what you’ll find at big box stores,” he notes, and the business offers free delivery in five counties.

“It’s not just us—the trend in many sectors is small businesses,” Hager says. “They are incredibly important to our economy, and people like to support them.”

Hager has seen a change in the kinds of products people buy. Furniture purchases for the home no longer include buffets, china cupboards, and ornate dining room tables.


“When I started 25 years ago, we sold a lot of formal dining rooms that got used twice a year. Those are not sold any longer,” Hager says. “It’s for function now—people want something they can use every single day. A little bit more relaxed, a place where kids can sit and do their homework, a place for family dinners. It all gets used for some purpose.”

“Rarely do we get someone who wants a set of furniture for a room that never gets used,” he adds. “Years ago, people would buy a big dining room table with a hutch. Now they might put in a home office in that space with bookcases. The function of the home has changed, and buying patterns have changed with it.”

Hager’s demographic is individuals and couples between 40 and 80. “Our typical customer is not looking for disposable furniture like the kind sold at some big box stores,” Hager says.

Not only has Hager Furniture stayed true to its business philosophy, but it also has maintained a strong presence in its hometown.

“It’s what a family business is all about,” says Peter Kern, president of the Palmerton Chamber of Commerce. “The Hager name is synonymous with community involvement, and that comes from a civic pride that emanates from a privately-owned family business.” Kern says Hager Furniture is active in the chamber and supports the annual Palmerton Community Festival and a range of nonprofit organizations in town.

Jeff Hager counts himself lucky to have worked with and learned from his grandfather, his father, who started working at the store at 19 and is semi-retired after 60 years, his mom, and his older brother Frank, who set out on his own in 1997 but remains a big influence. His oldest son, Bobby, a digital studies major at East Stroudsburg University, handles the store’s marketing, and his oldest daughter Bailey started in February, becoming the fourth generation Hager in the business.

The store’s 10 employees, some of them on staff for decades, are considered part of the family, too.

Sandy Benson, the office manager, is retiring this year after more than 30 years.

“I must say it will seem strange not heading to work in the mornings,” she says. “Working at the store was a huge part of my life. We are not just employer and employees­—we are family. 

“We have been through many changes and life experiences together,” she adds. “Truth be told, I started as one of their babysitters many years ago, and I have been fortunate enough to work with all four generations of Hagers, each bringing their own touch to the business.”

“We’ve been blessed to have the same employees for so long,” Hager says. “You get so comfortable with the people you work with every day, always working toward the same goal, the customer. And to be able to say that I worked with my grandfather through high school and college for 10 years, you can’t put a price on that.” 


The Hager family has seen customer tastes and preferences evolve over the years. But there are still some basics to adhere to when setting out to purchase furniture and mattresses. Jeff Hager offers the following advice:

WHEN CHOOSING FURNITURE, TAKE YOUR TIME.  If you’re buying better quality furniture, it’s going to be long lasting, so take time in choosing colors, finishes, and styles. You’re going to be using it and looking at it for many years, so make sure you really like what you are choosing.

WHEN CHOOSING UPHOLSTERY, CARPET, OR OTHER FLOORING, make sure to take fabric or flooring samples home with you so you can see the colors in the lighting in your home. Lighting makes a really big difference.

MAKE SURE THE SALESPERSON YOU ARE WORKING WITH CAN EXPLAIN TO YOU THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE FURNITURE YOU ARE LOOKING AT. A $399 and $999 sofa may look alike on the outside, but there is a huge difference on the inside. Your salesperson should be knowledgeable enough to be able
to explain the difference to you.

WHEN IT COMES TO BEDROOM AND DINING ROOM FURNITURE, make sure to find out if what you are looking at is made of solid wood or veneers. There are easy ways to know the difference. Also, if buying American-made furniture is important to you, make sure to tell your salesperson that is what you want and make sure that is what they show you. 

WHEN SHOPPING FOR MATTRESSES, if you are looking for comfort and durability, make sure to ask about two-sided mattresses that you can flip. Many stores do not carry them and may even tell you they are no longer made. They certainly are made, you just have to look at the right stores, and Hager Furniture has a huge selection of two-sided mattresses. They are no more expensive than a single-sided mattress and they last longer, which makes them a better value. 

Hager Furniture

242 Delaware Ave #48, Palmerton
610.826.2900 | hagerfurniture.com

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