Photo (c) 2024 Charles Justin Sicking

Living the American Dream

Jim Godby was born on December 10, 1941, and grew up in a farming family in Sheridan, Indiana. He spent his youth in 4-H, FFA, and athletics. He feels these activities taught him commitment, self-confidence, leadership and determination. These valuable tools would be the foundation later used to serve his country and start a successful business.

Jim Godby at Purdue University in 1960.

Jim studied agriculture at Purdue University. He graduated with distinction while completing the ROTC program. He then served his country in Vietnam.

Coming home from the service, Jim began a career in agriculture until a friend in the furniture business offered him a job, which he accepted. After about three years he thought that it was time to try it himself. He moved the family to his hometown of Sheridan in 1974, and a family member co-signed a $5,000 loan so he could start his new venture.

On September 1, 1974, Jim opened a 600-square-foot showroom in Sheridan. He displayed four sofas, a few recliners, a bedroom suite and a mattress set. When something sold, he went to a wholesale furniture warehouse in Indianapolis and bought its replacement. He took help from friends and family whenever he could. It’s not uncommon for customers to tell the staff how they purchased their first piece of furniture at the Sheridan location.

On September 1, 1974, Jim Godby opened a 600-square-foot showroom in Sheridan.

Jim was content with the status of the company when his son, Jeff, approached him about joining the company. Jeff saw the potential to grow the business to multiple locations. Jim wrote a letter trying to dissuade him, but in the end they agreed to give it a try.

Jeff began working with his father in 1992. In that time they succeeded in their goal of adding stores and increasing visibility through more advertising. In 2011 they remodeled the recently vacant O’Malia’s grocery store to anchor the Meridian Village Plaza. They had previously operated a clearance center in the location now occupied by Ollie’s, and felt that area was perfect for one of their mainline stores.

Jeff is now the second-generation owner of Godby Home Furnishings. Jim has retired, although he’s still very much a part of the business. “My dad’s not wired to sit around,” says Jeff. “He’s officially retired, but he still does what he calls the fun stuff, like mowing the yard at the warehouse and trimming the bushes. He’s also still a mentor to everyone because his work ethic is unmatched. He doesn’t know anything besides working, which garners a lot of respect from our employees.”

The team at Godby Home Furnishings takes great care in providing a comfortable work environment. “It’s amazing when I go down the roster and see how long many of our staff have been with us,” says Jeff.

Many of their veteran sales staff members have been a part of the team for so long that they are now selling to their original customers’ grandchildren. Brian Cox, for instance, is a Sheridan resident who has worked at Godby Home Furnishings for more than four decades, having started right out of high school.

“He’s still one of our lead salespeople at the Carmel location,” says Jeff. “He has generations of people who come in and ask for him.”

Godby Home Furnishings employs around 100 people, the vast majority of whom have been there for a decade or more. The current staff has over 800 years of combined service to the company. They enjoy great benefits including an unrivaled 401(k) program and a yearly Christmas party, with bonuses based on years served with the company. Most of them describe co-workers as a big family.

Godby Home Furnishings Carmel Store

Their loyal customers come back, time and again, not just for the superior service, but also because of the high-quality product.

“That’s in our company motto: ‘Quality furnishings at affordable prices,’” says Jeff, noting that their starting price points are incredibly attractive. Plus, they treat all customers the same and never play games when it comes to cost. They are not about negotiating deals with customers. Everyone who walks in gets their best sale price.

The stores are constantly refreshed with new product. Their aim is to help their customers create their dream home at any budget. From the furniture to the accessories, down to area rugs, they take pride in providing everything needed. All of their sales associates have extensive mattress training because a great night’s sleep is the key to the comfort and well-being of their clientele.

Having their own 75,000-square-foot distribution center in Westfield allows them to stock most everything you see on their sales floor. You can have your new furniture delivered in a matter of days by their own team of drivers, or pick it up yourself on the same day.

Godby Home Furnishings is involved in philanthropic efforts to help the community, especially for causes that are important to their employees, such as Little League, church outreaches, or charities that employees are passionate about. They also are big sponsors for local programs like the Sheridan Youth Assistance Program.

“We had success in those early days because lots of friends and relatives came to that first store in Sheridan to make the whole thing happen,” says Jeff. “They wanted to see a local kid in the community make good.”

And that he did, in so many ways. Happy 50th anniversary, Godby Home Furnishings!

Godby Home Furnishings is open seven days a week and is located at 13610 North Meridian Street in Carmel. For more information, call 317-566-8720 or visit

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