BILTRITE Furniture is founded by Irwin Kerns as an upholstery shop on 3rd and Garfield in Milwaukee. This location sold custom-made sofas for $1000 and created BILTRITE’s reputation for better quality furniture that has carried on for four generations. While BILTRITE no longer builds its own furniture, the furniture now sold at BILTRITE comes from brand name companies, the vast majority of which are manufactured in the USA and Canada.
1929: Irwin Kerns and his wife Frieda give birth to their daughter, Claire. The Great Depression hits the country, but BILTRITE finds a way to grow by developing its business plan of selling quality furniture with value, selection, and service at the lowest price to stay in business. Eighty three years later, BILTRITE has weathered through many changes in the economy by following this same plan and is the oldest family furniture store in Milwaukee.
1948: BILTRITE moves to 723 West Mitchell Street.
1950: Mort K. marries Claire K. and begins to work at BILTRITE.
1964: Marty K., Mort K. and Claire K.’s son, begins to help out on weekends.
1977: Marty K. marries Gail K. and she becomes a part of the third generation of BILTRITE.
1987: Maureen K., Marty K.’s sister, leaves her law practice to join her brother and father as they begin to expand on Mitchell Street.
1989: BILTRITE acquires an additional building on Mitchell Street and remodels to connect four buildings, including the old Park movie theater and the A & P, as one large, multi-level store.
1994: BILTRITE becomes a founding member of Furniture 1st, a billion dollar buying group that helps independent retailers across the country pass savings onto consumers as well as compete with national chains.
2001: Randi K., 4th Generation, graduates from High Point University in North Carolina with a Bachelor’s Degree in Interior Design and a minor in Art. High Point University is the only college in the country that offers a Home Furnishings Program connected to the furniture industry. She returns to Milwaukee to rejoin the family business.
2004: Brad K., 4th Generation, graduates from High Point University with Bachelors’ Degrees in Home Furnishings Marketing, Home Furnishings Management and Business Administration. He returns to Milwaukee to rejoin the family business.
2005: BILTRITE purchases land in Greenfield to build a new facility.
2006: BILTRITE relocates to the new 65,000 sq. ft. location, and Randi K. becomes BILTRITE’s spokesperson.
2008: BILTRITE celebrates their 80th Anniversary.
2009: BILTRITE begins to carry Amish furniture made in Holmes County, Ohio, which is home the largest Amish population in the country.
2011: BILTRITE celebrates their 5th year in the new Greenfield location.
2012: BILTRITE is honored at the Better Business Bureau’s 100th anniversary celebration at the Harley-Davidson Museum.
2013: BILTRITE celebrates their 85th year in business and 7th year in the new location in Greenfield in March. In October, BILTRITE Furniture adds a new generation to its family when Randi, 4th Generation Family Member, welcomed, Jordan, BILTRITE’s 5th Generation Family Member.
2014: Mort K., a 2nd Generation Family Member passed away at the age of 85. He helped to transform BILTRITE into the store that it is today. Sarah K., a 4th Generation Family member joined our sales team. We also welcomed our store mascot, Kugel!
2015: BILTRITE sends members of our sales team to visit our Amish builders in Holmes County, OH to get on site training for our Amish Made furniture.
2016: BILTRITE celebrates 10 years in our Greenfield location.