One of the fastest growing categories of business in 1950s Van Nuys, CA, was the modest priced furniture retailer.
The opening of a store on Van Nuys Boulevard was an event for the whole family. Mom, Dad, Janet, Billy and Sally would come down to see dinette sets, bunk beds, and wall-to-wall carpet that would soon cover the San Fernando Valley from Burbank to Hidden Hills.
Van Nuys was prosperous, white, middle-class, with excellent schools, clean streets, strictly policed, and full of new families in new houses. All these ranch houses and young families needed furniture. And here it was!
The widening of Van Nuys Boulevard in 1954 to a six-lane wide highway offered builders of furniture stores the opportunity to erect big signs atop big box stores fronting the street.
In the archives of the Los Angeles Public Library are these photographs taken from the pages of the Valley Times from 1955-61.
The 1958 Barker Brothers store still stands at 6505 Van Nuys Bl. It appears to be empty, along sidewalks where only the saddest and most desperate wander.