Mikos and Matt reopens

May storm severely damaged FD landmark business

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson John Mikos, owner of Mikos and Matt Furniture, left, stands with his son, Justin Mikos, store manager, inside the remodeled building recently.

Mikos and Matt Furniture has reopened its store after the roof was partially ripped off the building during a devastating storm that struck Fort Dodge about six months ago.

The storm swept through the area on May 16. It caused significant damage to the interior of the family operated store, located at 3336 Fifth Ave. S.

“It was those straight line winds that got us,” John Mikos, owner of the store, said. “I think aside from Iowa Central, we were damaged the most.”

John Mikos has two sons, Justin Mikos and Chris Mikos. Each help run the store. Justin Mikos, a 2011 St. Edmond Catholic School graduate, is the store manager. Chris Mikos, a 2008 St. Edmond Catholic School graduate, is the office and operations manager.

Justin Mikos was visiting his parents’ house on the night of the storm.

-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen Justin Mikos looks over a piece of fallen ceiling Wednesday morning as water continues to pour into Mikos and Mikes Furniture store after the a large section of the roof was damaged in Tuesday night's storm.

“I remember the patio furniture was moving around a whole bunch and there was something in the air where the storm that was coming was going to be big.”

Meanwhile, Chris Mikos was at the store.

It was about 9:30 p.m. when Chris Mikos called his father.

“He said it sounded like there was a waterfall in our showroom,” Justin Mikos said.

Justin Mikos and John Mikos drove to the store.

-Messenger photo by Chad Thompson Justin Mikos, store manager of Mikos and Matt Furniture, shows off some of the electronic functions of a recliner at the store recently.

When they arrived, Justin Mikos noticed the roof immediately.

“It looked rolled up like when you use a can opener going around the lid, the lid peels up,” he said. “The wind tore the roof off and it curled up on top of itself.”

He was shocked.

“My heart just dropped,” Justin Mikos said. “Like, did this seriously happen?”

The next morning, the family continued to assess the damage.

“There was water in our office,” he said. “There was so many things going on it was overwhelming.”

Much of the store’s inventory was lost, Justin Mikos said.

“They had to tear everything out of the store,” he said.

For the next six months, the family had to rebuild.

The family conducted some of its business out of a separate warehouse near the store.

Justin Mikos said they were able to provide customer service, but sold a minimal amount of furniture during the remodel.

For a short time the family considered closing the store permanently, he said.

“We had a conversation if we wanted to keep the store going or close up for good, and then my brother and I would do our own thing,” he said. “But after the last six months with what we have gone through, I feel more drawn to the store.”

“When tragedy strikes, there’s two ways you can handle it,” he said. “You can run away or come together and fight to get back up on your feet.”

Justin Mikos said he takes pride in the history of the store.

His grandfather, Wally Mikos, first opened the business in 1953. The land was purchased by is great-grandfather, Hugh Matt.

“That’s where the Matt comes from,” Justin Mikos said. “It was my grandma’s maiden name.”

Hugh Matt owned a furniture store called Matt Furniture in Carroll. There have been additional Matt stores throughout Iowa since that time.

The only Mikos and Matt store is in Fort Dodge. A Matt Furniture store is operated under a different owner in Spencer.

According to Justin Mikos, when Wally Mikos opened the store on the east end of the Corridor of Commerce, there was little else around the area.

“All the business was downtown and that was the business hub,” Justin Mikos said. “But I think he heard down in Florida that retail was pushing out of the downtown, so he saw that.”

Justin Mikos said the area which is now encompassed by Menards used to be a junkyard.

He said his grandpa would be happy to see him take an interest in the store.

“I think our grandpa would be proud of us that we wanted to keep the store going,” he said.

Throughout the remodel, asbestos had to be removed and sprinkler system needed to be installed.

“We needed a lot of code upgrades,” he said.

At the same time, Justin Mikos said it was an opportunity to change the layout of the store.

“We went to three our four furniture stores and kind of checked out their layout,” he said. “They were all open, and that’s kind of what we have done here.”

In the past customers had trouble finding mattresses throughout the store, he said.

He hopes the new layout will help.

“We thought if we opened it up, where if someone walks to the back they could see the mattress area,” Justin Mikos said.

In addition to mattresses, the store sells recliners, living room and dining room furniture, and bedroom sets.

The store reopened Nov. 11.

“Just about everything has changed,” Justin Mikos said. “The only thing that hasn’t is the exterior walls and concrete floor.”

He’s looking forward to greeting customers again.

“Showing the customers that come through the door, the new updated version of our store,” he said. “We have been in business since the 50s. I want to keep it going in serving the community the best we can.”