Furnishing A Growing Business

Scan Home teams with First National Bank Alaska, others to purchase furniture store property

When Carl Propes set out to buy the mall complex that houses Scan Home’s large home furnishings store, his 30 years in the business truly came full circle.

Sure, he welcomed the help of First National Bank Alaska, Evergreen Business Capital and the Small Business Administration. But long story short, he purchased the building from the family of the person who inspired him in the first place.

“I bought my first house in 1981 and visited a local store to furnish it,” Propes said. “I really loved what I saw in those high-end Scandinavian products, and the owner treated me well.

“Then to show how things come back to where they start, we purchased the building from relatives of the owner from that local store back in 1981. We really live in a small town.”

Propes now owns the Dover Center in midtown Anchorage. Today, Scan Home is comprised of two free-standing stores, one for home furnishings in the owned building and another one for office and lifestyle furniture a few blocks away.

Crediting his employees

Propes and his family loved the look and style of Scandinavian furniture. So much so, that he opened Scan Home in 1983 after first importing large containers of furniture from Denmark and selling them at an old Anchorage sports arena.

“I was working in land management and everything came together kind of out of the blue,” he said. “I had no background in business, but the idea of my own store really appealed to me.”

Scan Home hasn’t sustained its long history because of Propes alone. He credits each and every employee who worked at the store. Propes explained he has been fortunate to have highly-motivated, hard-working employees. Many of them have been with the company for 10 or more years.

“It’s not uncommon for some of our long-time customers to come into our store just to visit,” Propes said.

As the business has evolved and styles have changed, Propes has kept his simple philosophy intact.

“At Scan Home, we’re going to treat you like you want to be treated,” he said. “We have fair pricing and treat people fairly.”

Professional and helpful

Propes has exhibited sound business judgment and been part of the greater Anchorage community for decades. Working with First National Bank Alaska and the Small Business Administration (SBA), he recently purchased the Dover Center.

“It will be a good long-term investment,” he said. “But my kids will probably benefit more than me.”

When the time came to purchase the building and property, Propes approached First National Vice President Stacy Tomuro.

“Stacy suggested Evergreen Business Capital as a finance solution,” Propes said.

Evergreen is a private, non-profit organization affiliated with SBA to work with local banks and customers to provide business capital services and help small businesses grow. Propes, First National, Evergreen and the SBA financed the Dover Center project through the SBA 504 Loan Program.

The program offers 10-percent down, low-rate, long-term financing for real estate or equipment purchases.

“The 504 loan program is a real plus because it provides owners the opportunity to purchase commercial real estate with lower down-payment requirements,” Tomuro said. “This helps them keep cash for other things, like working capital and moving costs.”

Evergreen and the SBA recognized First National as the Community Lending Institution of the Year and Northwest Lending Institution Community Bank of the Year in 2014.

“From Stacy to Evergreen, everyone I worked with proved to be extremely professional and helpful,” Propes said. “I didn’t have to jump through too many hoops and the entire process progressed nicely.”

Propes closed on the Dover Center building in late September 2014.

Listening to his instincts

As a businessman, Propes says he often lets his instincts lead him. He also relied on the expertise offered by Tomuro and First National to help make the decision about buying the Dover Center.

“I can’t say enough about my relationship with Stacy and with the bank,” Propes said. “First National is unique in the way its bankers approach you. They aren’t out to just sell you some product or service.

“They offer opportunities you need to be successful.”

Propes takes a similar mindset to make sure Scan Home customers leave his store satisfied.

“I’ve never considered myself any sort of (furniture) expert,” Propes said. “I can’t necessarily build furniture and I may not know the ins and outs of the history of certain styles. But I think I can look at a piece and know whether it will work for our customer or not.”

Learn more about Scan Home at scanhome.com or on the store’s Facebook page.

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