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R.C. Willey’s Steve Child To Retire

Steve Child will retire at year’s end from his position as executive VP/electronics and appliance merchandising at R.C. Willey Home Furnishings.

A lifelong employee of the family-run furniture chain, Child said he intends to spend more time at his new home in Sun Valley, Idaho, and would more vigorously pursue his hobbies of skiing and rock climbing “while I’m still young enough to enjoy them.”

He added that he would miss his co-workers and “the great feeling of hitting our goals after a big weekend event.”

Although Child will remain on the company’s board, most of his day-to-day duties will be assumed by 23-year Willey veteran Lorne Schmunk, who has been appointed VP/electronics and appliance merchandising. Schmunk will report to Steve’s brother Jeff, who is president of the company. Their father Bill remains chairman.

“We’re sorry to lose Steve’s leadership in this critical part of our operation but wish him well in his retirement,” said CEO Scott Hymas. “Our success in electronics and appliances over the years has been in large part due to Steve’s efforts.”

Child’s first stint with the chain was as a youngster, dusting at the lone Willey store in Syracuse, Utah. He eventually joined full-time as a display staffer, and went on to hold positions in sales, store management and purchasing, having served at one point as store manager and appliance buyer simultaneously.

Hymas, who was promoted earlier this year from CFO, said that brown and white goods would continue to be a “vital part” of the company’s business model, and expressed confidence that “Lorne and Jeff will build on the great foundation that Steve has laid.”

The company was founded in 1932 by Child’s grandfather Rufus Call Willey, who sold appliances from the back of a pickup truck. The first “store,” located in a 600-foot garage, opened in 1949. Son-in-law Bill Child took over the business following Willey’s death in 1954 and eventually sold the chain to investor Warren Buffet’s Bershire Hathaway Co. in 1995.