A furniture store that has called the corner of North 76th
Street and West Bradley Road on Milwaukee's far northwest side home for 19 years is planning to double in size.
, which sits at 8075 N. 76th
Street, in a 43,000-square-foot former Praefke Brake & Supply Corp. building, is seeking approval from the city to construct a 40,000 square foot addition to the building on a vacant two-acre parcel of land along Bradley Road.
Joel Breen, who runs the family-owned business with his three sons, said the furniture store and showroom has outgrown its current space and needs to expand to address demand and volume needs.
“We are bulging at the seams,” Breen said.
The new addition will create a whole compound for the store, he said, with additional office, storage and showroom space, he said.
Breen said that while other furniture stores might be struggling given the tight housing market, and rising interest rates, his company serves a wide array of clients and customers. In addition to selling furniture, JB’s does furniture rental and staging work. It also works with lots of nonprofits in the city, accepting furniture vouchers for people coming out of homeless shelters who need to furnish their new homes.
“We were deemed an essential business during the pandemic due to the work we do with the Sojourner (Family Peace Center) and the Salvation Army,” Breen said. “We also work with Young Men on a Mission. For people to develop on this side of town is rare, but we feel we have made an investment in this community, and in its future.”
But the store also relies a lot on the regular foot traffic and online shopping that is the life blood of most furniture retailers. Its website lists hundreds of brands like Ashley and Coaster, many of which the company keeps in stock on a regular basis, Breen said.
“We are one of the unique ones that everything that is online is in this showroom. My son is very smart, and he is the buyer. Back before the pandemic he switched to domestic buying, which has really helped,” Breen said. “We run the gamut in customers from inner city residents to (Milwaukee Bucks player) Bobby Portis.”
Breen is hoping to get the project approvals he needs in March, and will start construction soon after that, he said.