In any conversation with Carol Bassett, owner of Wayside Furniture & Flooring in Angola, Indiana, it doesn’t take long to recognize her passion for people. She turns customers into friends, friends into employees, and everyone feels like family.
“I just treat everyone who works here like I want to be treated,” says Bassett, shrugging off praise. “We love what we do, and we have fun.”
That translates to a friendly and inviting atmosphere for customers, many of whom come from out of the area to take advantage of Wayside’s extensive and stylish inventory. Salespeople offer as much or as little assistance as a customer wants, without pressure.
“We love it when people just come in to browse,” explains Bassett. “Our staff has never been on commission, so we’re not competing with each other. We want people to feel welcome.”
Cheri Mattox, a customer-turned-employee, agrees. “I look forward to coming to work. Because we don’t work on commission, we’re a team,” she says. “It feels like family here.”
In fact, Wayside Furniture is a family business. Bassett has owned it with her sister and brother since their parents retired in 1978. She grew up in the business, so she knows that the secret to success is to make people—not furniture—the focal point. Every decision involves considering what’s best for customers, staff, and even the community.
“It’s not about me,” says Bassett. “It’s about them.”
To make sure they always have what their customers want, Wayside not only offers a wide variety of furniture, accessories and flooring, but the store also keeps them in stock. A large warehouse behind the showroom allows people to buy what they see in the store without having to order it. They don’t have to wait weeks or months for their furniture to arrive from the manufacturer.
“People shouldn’t have to wait,” says Bassett. “We sell from the showroom floor and deliver at the customer’s convenience, and our all in-house delivery team takes pride in providing the same care to customers in their homes they receive in the store.”
Wayside carries an extensive selection of furniture for all rooms of the house: living rooms, dining rooms, bedrooms, and even outdoor living spaces. It also stocks specialty furniture, including power lift recliners, adjustable mattress bases, and sleeper sofas. And as a certified La-Z-Boy Comfort Studio, Wayside showcases 75 recliner styles on the showroom floor and more in inventory. It even offers commercial and residential flooring, including installation. From young people just starting out to long-established homeowners, there’s something for everyone.
“Our number one priority is the customer,” says Bassett. “We just want them to be satisfied.”
Because Wayside Furniture is located in the heart of Indiana’s lake country, the styles on display have been chosen to work well in a variety of settings. From upscale farmhouse to modern to traditional, Bassett and Mattox describe the store’s offerings as crisp, breezy, classy, casual, and fun. The goal is that each person who comes through the door can find something that appeals to his or her taste and budget.
“I want to help people create spaces that make them smile,” explains Mattox. “I want people to be happy in their homes.”
Like Bassett, Mattox truly loves what she does. As a designer, she talks with customers to get a feel for what they like, then helps them turn their visions into reality. It’s not the style that counts, but the person who wants it.
“I’m just here to guide,” says Mattox. “There’s no right or wrong. If you like it, it’s right.”
It’s no wonder customers keep coming back to Wayside Furniture. Now 68 years since its genesis, the business has even become generational. Children who once came into the store with their parents have grown and come now to shop for themselves.
“This community has been so good to us,” Bassett says simply.
Long-time customer Lisa Caudill believes the relationship is reciprocal. Without pausing to think, she can rattle off a list of organizations Bassett supports: Tri-Kappa, the Steuben County Council on Aging, and the humane shelter, among others. Bassett has even served on the Cameron Memorial Community Hospital board of directors.
“She never says no,” says Caudill. “Carol is extremely generous in the community.”
It always comes back to people.
“They’re always ready to help,” says Caudill of the Wayside team. “Their follow-through is tremendous, and when I refer people, I know they’ll be treated well.”
For Bassett, that’s what matters most.
Owner(s): Carol Bassett
Address: 2007 N. Wayne St., Angola, Indiana 46703
Phone: (260) 665-3121
Years in Business: 68
Products & Services: Furniture, accessories and flooring