A longtime staple in the Clinton business community has decided to hang it up.
Ric O’Leary, owner of Banner Home Furnishings at 516 S. First St., first came to Clinton in 1972, when he opened a small discount furniture store on Main Avenue. After years in the industry, the Davenport native and U.S. Army veteran partnered with Dale and Paul Stewart in 1992 to begin a venture under the Banner name.
After 46 years in the field, O’Leary has made the decision to retire, calling it “a struggle to decide.” He said the most difficult part of making that decision has been reminiscing about his loyal customers, some of whom are third-generation shoppers at his store.
“It’s time to move on,” O’Leary said.
“Age has a lot to do with it. I’m just ready to slow down. I can look back and say that I’ve always tried to have good customer service, and good pricing, and good relationships with members of our community.”
A blowout sale at Banner is set to begin Saturday morning at 10 a.m., and O’Leary said the store still features “a ton of merchandise to get out...it’s still a very full store.”
O’Leary first came to Clinton after working at a furniture store in Galesburg, Illinois, once the owners of that store made the decision to expand their business in to Iowa. From there, his community involvement spread like wildfire. O’Leary was instrumental in the creation of the Lyons Farmers Market in the mid-1970s, a tradition that is “still going strong to this day,” he said.
The Clinton Jaycees, Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Clinton Alliance have all fallen under O’Leary’s service, as well.
Those ventures have allowed O’Leary to make connections in the Clinton area which he hopes to maintain.
“The most important part for me was being involved in this community,” O’Leary said. “I’m going to miss a lot of people after 46 years in the furniture business and 25 of those years being at Banner Home Furnishings.”