By Christy Krueger
This year, the popular Copenhagen Imports marks a momentous milestone: 50 years of service to Southern Arizona.
Three generations of Hansens have influenced the pathway to success of Copenhagen Imports, one of Tucson’s most popular contemporary furniture stores. Unfortunately, the family will mark this important achievement without founder Erik Hansen, who passed away in February 2020.
Erik’s brother, Jorgen Hansen, remembers him fondly. “Erik was a wonderful brother, devoted to his family – not only as a brother, but also to his wife, children and grandchildren. His dedication, hard work and passion for contemporary design has shaped our company and made it possible for us to continue his mission.”
That mission began when the brothers were introduced to the business as children growing up in Denmark. They lived above their family’s store, Mobellageret, which translates to “Furniture Warehouse.”
As young adults, the brothers emigrated to the United States and, along with Erik’s business partner, Tony Christensen, opened the first Copenhagen showroom in Phoenix. In 1977, Jorgen moved to Tucson and opened a 10,000-square-foot Copenhagen store on Speedway Boulevard. Just a few short years later in 1984, they moved to a larger, 60,000-square-foot showroom at Fort Lowell Road and Dodge Boulevard, where the store operates to this day. The brand also expanded in the Phoenix area and opened stores in San Antonio and Austin, Texas.
Copenhagen truly is a family-run business. Erik’s wife, Lise Hansen, is very much involved, as is their son, Jens Hansen, who serves as the president of the company. Jorgen’s daughter, Emily Hansen, returned to Tucson after graduating from Princeton University and is now the store’s assistant manager as well as digital marketing and web manager.
The store is known for its range of contemporary designs for every room of the house. “Copenhagen’s collection of furniture is exceptional in its variety and value, and the company offers delivery, design and service options for all customers within its service areas,” Emily noted. Its products come from around the world, including the U.S., Canada and Europe.
COVID-19 has presented challenges for Copenhagen’s employees and customers. In April, the company temporarily closed its showrooms and warehouses. “During this time, we had as many of our employees working from home as possible and created avenues to communicate and help our customers, like an online chat functionality,” Emily said. Since reopening, employees are adjusting to new policies to ensure a safe environment. This includes allowing customers to make personal appointments outside normal business hours.
Thanks to these accommodations, customers have continued to make purchases and Copenhagen has seen increased sales in three key areas: power motion and home theater furniture, ergonomic office chairs and sit-stand desks, and extendable dining tables.
Jorgen credits the store’s longevity to offering merchandise that is classic in design and of high quality. Empathetic customer service, dedicated employees, many of whom have been with the company for 15-40 years, and customers who come back again and again are also at the heart of the company’s success.
Emily feels that relationships in the community also contribute to Copenhagen’s continued success. “We believe strongly in supporting local nonprofits and philanthropies that provide vital services to our community and contribute to Tucson’s cultural development.” These include partnerships with Tucson Museum of Art, the Humane Society of Southern Arizona and Tucson Desert Song Festival, among many others. “Each year we host cultural and arts events that benefit each of these philanthropies.”
To celebrate its 50th anniversary, Jorgen’s team compiled a catalog of more than 80 pages of designs ranging from contemporary to classic Danish Modern. “We negotiated with our longtime suppliers and collaborated to create an exclusive 50th anniversary collection with over 150 unique pieces, all at 20-30 percent less than our everyday prices.” It’s a way, he said, to thank customers for their business and trust.