Sklar Furnishings’ vast showroom, full of contemporary items, screams “home”—a fitting sentiment for husband-and-wife duo Rick and Pat Howard, who opened the store 15 years ago. To honor their longevity, the Howards are giving back to the community by spending 15 months donating to 15 different charities.
Sklar Furnishings began from a desire for more. After a short-lived retirement in Key Largo, the Howards came to South Florida with the plan to open a furniture retail business. Rick had a background in furniture manufacturing, but this time around, he wanted to do something different—and he wanted to do it with Pat by his side.
“After weeks and weeks of looking all over Florida, we found the building in Boca Raton and decided to forge ahead and open Sklar Furnishings,” Rick says. “We looked [long and] hard at the environment in retail and finally opened in 2002.”
Rick and Pat wanted to bring a new style of furniture shopping to South Florida—one that stood out among the stores already in the area. “Honestly, if you had put a blindfold on me and taken it off in some of the major furniture stores, I wouldn’t know where I was because they didn’t differentiate,” Rick says. “We wanted to differentiate ourselves in a number of ways: rather than open a pure retail store, ours is a bit of a hybrid in that we show furniture that stimulates our client’s imagination and then our designers go in and put together a package for them.”
After 15 years, their approach clearly worked, but finding Boca wasn’t as easy. “We looked in Pembroke Pines, Fort Lauderdale, north of Palm Beach, over in the West Coast, upward toward Sarasota, and we couldn’t find anything—so we got in the car, headed up to North Palm and drove down North Federal Highway. When we got to Boca Raton, we saw a free- standing building that was the right size, so we peeked in, called the guy, and the rest is history,” Rick says. “Boca chose us.”
To celebrate the city that gave their family not only a home for their business, but also a home where their lives would unfold, Sklar Furnishings has spent the last few months working with 15 different charities. “We’ve been involved in the community right from the get-go,” Rick says. “Fifteen charities in 15 months just rang well with us.” The program kicked off with donating to breast cancer awareness and child development centers last October and will end on Nov. 14 with a celebration at the showroom.
Giving back is a big part of Sklar’s core philosophies—a set of values that were created more than a decade ago between husband and wife. Thinking back to those early years, Rick states, “[Pat] turned out to be a phenomenal partner in life and in work, and it has been a lot of fun.”