Garth Andrew design firm closes after 75 years

by Laura Bednar

The Garth Andrew Company closed its doors after operating for three-quarters of a century at the intersection of N. Cleveland-Massillon and Ira roads in Hammond’s Corners.

Owner Jeff Andrew, 81, said he decided to retire, and his daughter Jill Andrew will continue as a freelance interior designer.

“We educated people to contemporary design and quality,” said Jeff, adding that he was grateful for the many customers who enjoyed the company’s work. “Some still have items in their home from Garth Andrew.”

Jeff’s father, Garth Andrew, started the business in 1948. Garth was diagnosed with pneumonia and visited Arizona in the mid 1940s because he needed a dry climate for treatment. Jeff said while his father was there, he visited Frank Lloyd Wright’s studio and was inspired by the designs. He returned home and started a contemporary interior design business in a barn behind the present-day building.

The Andrew family lived on the ground floor of the barn; the second floor was used as a design studio and showroom. It was around the time the business opened that Garth was asked to build a model home for the Cleveland Home and Garden Show. Jeff said the company received lots of business after debuting work at the show.

“We did interior design there for 12 years,” he said, adding that Garth Andrew Company gave out matchbooks with a map of Bath Township to show people its proximity to Cleveland. Work started coming in from Youngstown, Akron, Canton and Cleveland. In 1954, Jeff’s father bought back the storefront building he previously owned to expand the studio and accommodate the increase in workflow.

The building was at one time the second largest general store in Ohio, according to Ohio Department of Transportation. Ward and Royal Hammond, nephews of Jason Hammond, were reportedly the first owners of the store in the mid 1820s, according to a 2012 Bath Country Journal article. After the Hammonds left Bath in the 1840s, Reison Randolph operated the store until he sold it to Joseph Whitcraft in 1877. Whitcraft died in 1888 and his son Sigel took over the store at age 26. Sigel’s daughter Ava married Ralph Andrew, Jeff’s grandfather, in 1911.

Jeff said the building burned to the ground in 1912 due to an overheated furnace pipe. It was rebuilt the same year and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012. Ralph and Ava continued running the store until the 1930s, when according to Jeff, Garth inherited the store and sold it, buying it back in the 1950s. It was in 1968 when Garth died of a heart attack that Jeff took over the business at age 26, the same age as Sigel when he took over for his father.

Jeff’s brother was office manager, and at one time the company had four designers on staff. Jeff said the company also received calls from university students seeking internships. His daughter Jill has been a designer with Garth Andrew for 27 years.

The company has completed design work for clients throughout the country, including California, New England, Florida and New Mexico, as well as locally.

Jeff said he’s had several repeat customers. He provided design work for a couple on Granger Road 28 years ago, and in 2021 they asked Jeff to design their home in Florida. Jeff will be lending his expertise to them again as they build a home in the Montrose area.

“We as a design family provide family honesty and the quality that comes with that,” said Jill.

One of her notable accomplishments with Garth Andrew was reupholstering Arden Riddle furniture pieces, which were displayed in the Canton Art Museum.

Jeff said he has had several high profile clients, including a female scientist who held an executive position at the Standard Oil of Ohio research office. He designed executive offices at the research center and later, when BP took over, designed offices for their staff, including a bronze installation in front of doors to provide a background for corporate photos.

Jill said the younger generation views furniture as disposable, but Garth Andrew’s clients have appreciated “the quality of what we provide them.”

Said Jeff, “Clients have become more like friends.”

In his retirement, Jeff plans to golf, travel, spend time with friends and dedicate more time to the Bath Township Historical Society. Jill can be reached for freelance design at ∞

The company originated inside a renovated barn. Photo submitted.

On our cover (photos): The building that housed Garth Andrew Company in Hammond’s Corners is over 100 years old and has held a prominent spot in Bath history. Owner Jeff Andrew has made the company a family business and his daughter Jill has designed with the company for 27 years. Photos by Laura Bednar.