H.J. BROOKS & SONS
FOUR GENERATIONS SERVING MUSKOKA
H.J Brooks & Sons was founded in 1945 by Herman James Brooks, his wife Elaine, and their two sons George and Jerry. Although it wasn’t widely known at the time and not congruent with the status quo, Herman’s wife Elaine was the driving force behind the company. The first building was at the top of Chancery Lane in downtown Bracebridge, across from what is now the Griffin Gastropub. This building was purchased for $3,500 from George Armstrong who was a local butcher. The company, known as Brooks, sold Brandon-Henderson paints, Duotherm oil burning space heaters, radios, RCA Victor record players, and Westinghouse appliances. Eventually, color television was added to the product assortment.
BUSINESS KEEPS GROWING…
As the business continued to grow and more space was required, the company moved to a larger location at 22 Manitoba Street, which had just been renovated from fire damage. This expansion in 1959 allowed for increased selection including Beattie washing machines, and Thor ironers. In the late sixties, a second floor was opened, and home furnishings were added to the product line.
Seeing the cottage industry boom in Muskoka, and the necessary infrastructure involved in supporting this growth, an electrical division was opened. Brooks hired Jack Saunders, a self-taught licenced electrician to lead the charge. This division won many contracts and were responsible for much of the original pole line installation and residential electrical contracting for a large portion of full-time and seasonal Muskoka residents.
A FAMILY TRADITION
In 1982, the third generation of Brooks took control of the Company. To continue the Company’s growth, Brothers Alex and David acquired Muskoka Furniture of Huntsville. This was rebranded to Brooks in Huntsville. Three years later in 1985, the company became the third group to franchise with Leon’s Furniture through their newly minted Franchise Division.
A location in Orillia was opened as a third franchise in 1988, which was later sold in 1990 to allow for a new store to be built in Bracebridge at its’ current location – 6 Robert Dollar Drive. Of the 78 Leon’s Furniture stores nationwide, about 30% are independently owned and operated as franchises.
EXPANDING IN MUSKOKA
IN 1993, THE COMPANY ONCE AGAIN CHANGED HANDS TO ANDY AND MAUREEN BROOKS. ANDY, BEING THE MIDDLE SON OF CO-FOUNDER GEORGE BROOKS, HAD GROWN UP IN THE BUSINESS. BOTH ANDY AND MAUREEN CAME FROM THE BANKING INDUSTRY IN TORONTO.
In 1997, an off-site warehouse was acquired in Bracebridge, adjacent to Maple Orchard Farms. This acquisition allowed the Bracebridge store to expand by 8,000 square feet and undergo a major interior refinishing, including renovations to its’ bedding, appliance, and electronics galleries. The dedicated off-site warehouse allows for ample inventory, meaning shorter lead times from purchase through delivery and better service to the Muskoka area.
While each store carries a small inventory of items for immediate pick-up, the off-site warehouse allows for unparalleled logistics with two loading bays, and 10,000 square feet of storage racked 23 feet to the ceiling. We are able to receive daily shipments from suppliers, and service a 10,000 square kilometer no-charge delivery area on a weekly basis.
With the Bracebridge store renovated, Andy and Maureen set their eyes on Huntsville. Knowing that the business’ rented space in Huntsville had its limitations on Menominee Street, a property at 67 Silverwood was purchased in 2003. Three years later would see building permits be issued, and ground broken. In the fall of 2007, Andy and Maureen proudly opened the doors to an award-winning state-of-the-art showroom, at the current location in Huntsville. This spectacular showroom boasts 30,000 square feet of beautifully detailed retail space, and the best selection of home furnishings that Muskoka has to offer.
A FRESH START
In the spring of 2014, Stephen Brooks, son to Andy & Maureen, returned home to join the Company as the General Manager. Stephen had worked in several areas of the Company from the age of 10, but decided to pursue a career in sales for almost a decade following his post-secondary education. Stephen is the fourth generation of the Brooks family in the business.
Leon’s Muskoka now has over 30 employees, including 10 Sales Associates, and over 60,000 square feet of showroom and warehousing; we are able to harness the national purchasing power of Leon’s Furniture, and combine this excellent pricing with a local family operated business atmosphere. Shopping here provides you with the best in pricing, product selection, and care of a local, family-owned business.VISIT OUR SHOWROOM
OUR PRICE GUARANTEE
For 60 days following your purchase, and in some cases up to 120 days, we will guarantee our price under the same terms and conditions. Please contact a Sales Associate for details.
FREE LOCAL DELIVERY
on purchases over $498 or more before taxes and fees. Excludes as-is and markdown center items. See store for applicable delivery fees outside of our free local delivery area. We deliver from South River to Severn Bridge and Parry Sound to Haliburton on a weekly bases.