Wilson Bates Furniture Co-Owner Jay Cazier sits with his staff on a selection of his sofas on one of the building’s three showroom floors. (Garrett Estrada photo0

Wilson Bates Furniture Co-Owner Jay Cazier sits with his staff on a selection of his sofas on one of the building’s three showroom floors. (Garrett Estrada photo)

On of Jay Cazier first jobs was delivering furniture for Wilson Bates Furniture Company back when he was in high school. Little did he know then that after coming back from his studies at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, that same furniture store would turn into a career spanning more than 20 years.

Now the general manager of Wilson Bates, Cazier said he learns new things every day on the job. But the most import thing he learned early on?

Always take care of the customer.

“Our customers come first. We try to drop everything if someone has an issue,” Cazier said.

He mentioned a recent example of how one of his delivery men forgot a bag of screws for a furniture install a good distance out of town. His immediate reaction?

“As soon as I heard that I hopped in my pickup with the bag of screws and told them I’d meet them there,” he said.

But his passion for taking care of people extends beyond just those who patronize his store. For Cazier, who doesn’t know if he is a “fourth or fifth generation” Ely native, being involved in the community is equally as important.

“I try to support as many local groups as I can,” he said.

Those groups include 4H, Little League, the Elks Foundation and many more. To Cazier, getting involved is a way to give back to a community that has kept the Wilson Bates brand alive for more than 100 years in Nevada. And though he admits that his business hasn’t changed much in his 22 years overseeing it, he hopes his plan of offering the widest selection of high quality furniture, appliances and more will keep the store around for another 100 years, so long as locals realize all his store has to offer.

“If you look through the front window, all you see is one floor and there is actually three floors. We get people that walk in here at least once a week that don’t even realize that we have stairs,” Cazier said of his building’s 13,000 square foot showroom space.

That space is packed with what Cazier calls “trusted names” such as Ashley, La-Z-Boy, Maytag and more. It means a higher price tag, but he’s got that covered as well.

“We do our own in house financing and we are really good about working with people to get them approved,” Cazier said.

But just because he has filled his more than 90-year-old building with as much as he can, Cazier knows the future store’s prosperity will revolve around getting more vacant buildings in downtown Ely filled.

“I hate to see the downtown area dying as it is. It gives Ely that hometown feels that it has, which is something you don’t get up on the hill,” he said, referring to the area around Great Basin Highway.

After his five years in college in Las Vegas, Cazier knows keeping that small-town feel to places like downtown are what is going to bring people coming back for years.

“You get a ton of people in Ely who can’t wait to leave here when they graduate high school,” he said. “But after they leave, they realize what they had here and look forward to coming home.”