FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Community and continuity have been part of the Klaff’s brand for 93 years. Homeowners know the business primarily through its lighting, bath and decorative hardware departments, but many don’t know the Norwalk-based business also has deep family association and community ties.
“What’s so great about Klaff’s is it truly is a family business,’’ said Candace Pereira, Lighting General Manager for Klaff’s, which also has locations in Danbury and Scarsdale. “Joe and Mary Klaff started the store, and second and third generation family members are still running the business. Their two daughters are still actively involved. Mollie Passero and Debbie Katz both come to work six days a week, and Debbie works as Treasurer. Now the third and fourth generation family members work as well. It has always been a big family organization.”
When the sisters assumed leadership of the company in the 1950s following the deaths of their parents, they closed the company’s lumber yard and channeled all their resources into three major growth categories: interior and exterior lighting; table and floor lamps; and hardware, according to the company history on the Klaff’s website.
They also set in place a marketing strategy that continues to separate the company from its competitors. They created high-style merchandising and display, making the store a must-see destination for professionals and non-professionals. According the the company website, “The Klaff’s family believes in impressing their customers not only by what they see, but how they see it."
Klaff's has also developed a sense of loyalty with its employees. Pereira, who started working for the company in 1986, said current employees have been with the business for an average of 18 years. “It’s a business that takes care of its employees and people like working here,’’ Pereira said. “They make us feel like we’re part of the family.”
The employees add to the community feel as well, by getting involved in a wide range of local activities. Klaff’s and its employees are big supporters of the Lockwood Matthews-Mansion Museum in Norwalk, and last year hosted a fundraiser for gynecological cancer research that raised over $50,000. Employees also visit a shelter at Christmas time and personally contribute to United Way, with each donation matched by Klaff's.
“I think that’s why we’re such a big part of the community,’’ Pereira said. “We’re all active in doing what we can to support it. We’re established here in Norwalk, and I live here. It’s great to support causes in the city where I live.”
Klaff’s showrooms feature lighting, cabinetry, bath and bath accessories, decorative hardware and tile and stone. The business has had significant expansion in the past 18 years, including the addition of 4,000-square foot showroom on Washington Street in Norwalk in 1996, a 2,200-square foot kitchen showroom in 1999, a renovated Danbury store in 2004 and the addition of the Scarsdale store in 2009.
Klaff’s has won a host of industry awards along the way, including the Lighting Retailer of the Year in 1997 and 2009.
For more information on Klaff’s, visit the company website.