C.F. Tompkins Furniture store was started by Coles Frederick Tompkins selling furniture from his horse-drawn wagon. Coles F. had left Nova Scotia, Canada for Maine, where he worked in a lumber mill. By 1902, he had arrived in Salem, selling locally manufactured furniture and home appliances.
His first store was on Washington Street, near City Hall. In the late 1950's, it was moved to Essex Street. Though the store expanded over the years, opening stores in Danvers, Beverly and Gloucester, later it shrank to the two remaining stores in Danvers and Salem.
They were able to continue to thrive through good customer service and repeat sales.
The Salem and Danvers stores closed in 2006, owing to the competition from the big box furniture stores.
"C.F.Tompkins survives a century in Salem - and counting" Salem Evening News, July 31, 2002, p. A1
C.F.Tompkins celebrates 100th anniversary Furniture Today online magazine
After 104 years, Tompkins will close landmark stores Salem News, Sept 2, 2006.