Sassi Furniture store owner Jenelle Knight was lucky to have grown up in the furniture industry, making her passion for interior design all the stronger.
Sassi Furniture store owner Jenelle Knight was lucky to have grown up in the furniture industry, making her passion for interior design all the stronger. Laura McKee

Furniture business stands test of time

JENELLE Knight used to do her homework at her mum and dad's furniture store.

Now, 25 years later, her sons do their homework at the same shop.

Mrs Knight's parents Ken and Robyn Wilmot moved to Gladstone from Bundaberg in 1980.

They opened a furniture store, The Pine Shed, on Toolooa St. In 1985, they moved to Hanson Rd.

Mrs Knight has fond memories of growing up around the store on Hanson Rd.

"I was little, probably in year four, when we moved to Gladstone," she said.

"My brother and I would hang out the back and do homework after school. We were here constantly as kids.

"I started working on the floor and I worked in the warehouse. I helped load trucks and do deliveries. You just do what needs to be done in a family business."

In 2009, Mrs Knight took over the business - becoming the third generation in her family to run their own business.

"My grandparents were in the electrical business and then my parents went from electrical to furniture," she said.

"I have three sons so who knows what will happen in the future."

After high school, Mrs Knight studied interior design at university. That, she says, goes hand in hand with running her business.

"I love design. I was very lucky that my family happened to be in the industry that I love," she said.

"We have a mix of products and many different styles here. We are in a small population in Gladstone but that doesn't mean everyone wants run-of-the-mill furniture."

Mrs Knight said adapting to the economic climate of the local market was the key to success.

"I believe you have to be evolving with the times and stay relevant to today's consumer," she said.

"Over the past 35 years, Gladstone has gone through lots of ups and downs. You learn to read and ride the waves of doing business in Gladstone."

Wilmots/Knights at Hanson Rd:

  • From 1985: Stronger Furniture
  • From 1987: Homemakers
  • From 2009: Sassi Furniture


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