Narrative Furniture Champions For The Story In Every Handcrafted Piece
It’s a location that can be easily overlooked next to a gas station and an abandoned building on Jefferson and Victor, but Larson Financial Foundation has nearly completed major preparations and construction to turn what was originally a automobile dealership into a gorgeous furniture showroom, workshop and office space.
The space, once a Ford showroom, has the air and details of quite a long running history. From a framing company, to a nightclub called “The Warehouse,” the 16,000-square-foot space now will collectively house Larson Financial Foundation, Narrative Furniture and soon-to-be a furniture retail destination.
The Managing Director of Larson Financial Foundation, Andy Kim, oversees the fulfillment of the foundation’s mission of blessing communities of great need by establishing businesses that clearly benefit them, with Narrative Furniture being its latest venture.
“My partner and I manage the companies owned by Larson Financial Foundation in India and Sudan … so I kind of weave in and out quite a bit, wearing many hats. The design work is really a creative outlet for me,” Kim says, pointing to the numerous amounts of woodwork in his office that serve as inspiration.
The company is clearly a project of passion and while building successful businesses internationally in impoverished areas, Larson Financial Foundation set its sights on St. Louis, the city that serves as home base.
Kim is inspired by the saying, “We stand on the shoulders of giants,” something that is seen in both his work and the location he chose to start this newest venture. “All throughout St. Louis, we are reminded of the giants that built the city as their own, laying the foundation for generations to come … we have a legacy to uphold,” reads the letter Kim hands me to explain his mission further.
The handcrafted furniture is handled with love and care, which is obvious when running your hands across a table. The intricate details—like their signature —is found inlayed in each furniture piece and meticulously placed.
And it wouldn’t be possible without the team Kim intentionally put together. “We found our team through an organization here in South City that works with refugees … Listening to each of their stories, I was moved by the incredible circumstances they have had to overcome in the pursuit of the American dream, hoping for a better life for them and their families,” he continues, explaining the men that were often overlooked for work because of their “refugee” status. These men, who have years of professional experience in other countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan and Eritrea, now have the opportunity to build their idea of the American dream.
While the men don’t have the traditional background of woodworking, they’ve picked it up easily and quite beautifully with the help of a master woodworker with over 40 years experience on the team. They truly embody the spirit of the furniture company, the manufacturing history of STL and imprint their own backgrounds into the grain. “At Narrative Furniture, we believe that story is paramount. From the raw materials we source, to the people that build it, to the ones who will enjoy it for years to come … that’s what we want to be about.”
Pick up your copy of the Good Vibes issue at Narrative Furniture today.
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