Furniture magnate Johnny Janosik dies at 90

Johnny Janosik (Photo courtesy of WBOC-TV)

Johnny Janosik (Photo courtesy of WBOC-TV)

DOVER — Johnny Janosik, the owner of a well-known Delaware furniture company and easily one of the most recognizable names on the Delmarva Peninsula, not only for creating the Johnny Janosik World of Furniture but for his philanthropy and community service, died Friday at age 90.

The Hannigan Short-Disharoon Funeral Home said in an obituary that Mr. Janosik died at Nanticoke Memorial Hospital.

The funeral home says a funeral will be held Thursday at Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Seaford. Mr. Janosik is survived by his wife and three children.

Mr. Janosik created the Johnny Janosik World of Furniture, which calls itself the largest furniture store on the Eastern Shore. Local media report that the Hopewell, Virginia native started his business in 1953 as a TV repair shop and expanded it to include furniture.

His obituary says Mr. Janosik served in the Navy during World War II and was injured when a suicide bomber crashed a plane into the USS Louisville.

By age 11, Mr. Janosik was the man of his house in Hopewell, doing whatever necessary to help his family get by.

“We hunted squirrels, rabbits, and then we went duck hunting down on the creeks, and a lot of kids hunt today with their dads, but we hunted to eat,” Mr. Janosik told WBOC-TV in an interview several years ago.

Mr. Janosik was determined to control his own destiny. He attended school and then in the summer of 1942, worked at a cannery in Laurel.

Mr. Janosik worked as a TV repair man in the early 1950s before starting his own business in 1953. From TV service, it expanded to TV sales, appliances and eventually furniture. Eventually the business would move from downtown Laurel to a former chicken house on U.S. 13.

“You passed my store on Route 13, it used to be a broiler house filled with chicks, but not anymore,” Mr. Janosik used to say in a commercial. “Now it’s filled with Whirlpool appliances, RCA TV sets, and the finest furniture. Where else would you want to buy? Johnny Janosik.”

The business continued to grow and Mr. Janosik’s desire to give back to his community did as well. He volunteered at the Good Samaritan Aid Organization in Laurel, and every year raised money for the hope house, even funding the construction of two of those houses.

Mr. Janosik and his wife Mary Louise began the Janosik Family Charitable Foundation to support local educational efforts. They were dedicated to ensuring everyone had their own shot at the American dream.

“If you want an hour of happiness take a nap. If you want a week of happiness take a vacation. But if you want a lifetime of happiness help someone else.”

On Friday morning, Johnny Janosik World of Furniture is planning a groundbreaking for a new, 60,000-square-foot store, to be located at U.S. 13 in Camden, which will replace Janosik ’s current Dover locations at 2230 and 2231 South DuPont Highway. A grand opening is slated for late 2016.

“We’re tremendously excited about this addition to our furniture operations,” said Dave Koehler, chairman of Janosik in a recent press release.

“Although we’ve been in Dover for 20 years and have many loyal customers, this store will feature a fresh, new look that more accurately reflects our brand.”

Store features will include an In-Home Design Center, expansive Lazy Boy Comfort Studio, large Southern Motion Comfort Zone and separate entrance for the store’s mattress department.

“The selection is going to be unparalleled,” Mr. Koehler said. “With a wide cross section of brands, styles and price points, there will be something for everyone.”

Johnny Janosik has grown to include four locations with more than 225 employees. The store delivers to customers throughout Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

WBOC-TV and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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