Sam Unruh, owner of Unruh Furniture, talks making furniture, bringing back the Kansas City Kings and more

Twitter handle: @unruhfurniture

Hometown: Kansas City

Current neighborhood:
My wife and I just bought a home in Coleman Highlands so that we can be closer to the old church we are currently renovating to become Unruh Furniture’s new home.

What I do: I split my time between managing the 18 employees I have at Unruh Furniture and heading up our marketing and storytelling effort at Unruh Furniture.

What’s your addiction? I am a big sports fan: Chiefs season-ticket holder, NBA enthusiast and all around SportsCenter addict.

What’s your game? Getting my kids to think I’m cooler than my wife. I have three daughters — a 3-year-old and 2-year-old twins — and all three of them think their mom hung the moon. I am left playing a lot of catch-up.

What’s your drink?
Boulevard Tank 7, preferably outside with friends.

Where’s dinner? If we have the kids, then it’s normally Unforked on 119th Street. But if it’s a date, then we love Char Bar in Westport. They are my favorite for ribs in Kansas City.

What’s on your KC postcard? Arrowhead Stadium with the snow falling

Finish these sentences: “Kansas City got it right when …”
They chose to restore so many of the historic buildings in and around downtown instead of tearing them down and starting over.

“Kansas City needs …” An NBA team! Big time! My fairytale fantasy is to make it big enough to buy the Sacramento Kings and bring them back to KC.

“As a kid, I wanted to be …”
An architect. I’m not sure why but I always thought that would be cool.

“In five years, I’ll be …” Thirty-four, still happily married, hanging with my at least four kids, and hopefully a little closer to buying the Sacramento Kings.

“I always laugh at …” Justin Timberlake on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.

“I’ve been known to binge watch …” Homeland, Bloodline, New Girl and Pardon the Interruption.

“I can’t stop listening to …” Joshua Hyslop, especially his single “Everything Unsaid.”

“My dream concert lineup is …” Jon Foreman, Taylor Swift and U2, all unplugged and in a coffee shop.

“I just read …” Scary Close by Donald Miller. Really liked it.

What’s your hidden talent? Public speaking. I majored in it in college and rarely ever get to put it in practice.


What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Ice cream, but I have to admit that I don’t feel a tremendous amount of guilt about it. I end most nights with a mug of Breyers coffee ice cream.

The best advice I ever got: Hard things are hard.

Worst advice?
If you’re passionate about it, then it will just work out.

My sidekick? Emma Kate Unruh. She is my 3-year-old, and we share a deep love for doughnuts on Saturdays.

Who is your hero? When I was in college, I did Young Life with a guy named Pete Fritsch, who I still think is pretty awesome.

Who (or what) is your nemesis? Corporate furniture stores. We are so much cooler and yet make so much less money. Ahh.

What’s your greatest struggle right now?
Last November, I bought an old stone church in midtown, and I have spent the last several months managing the renovation of the building. It has turned out to be way more work than I thought, but when it’s finished, it will be a way cooler home to Unruh Furniture.

My favorite toy as a child:
Legos. Probably laid the groundwork to furniture making.

My dating triumph/tragedy? My wife. She wanted nothing to do with me for way too long. But I prevailed in the end.

My soapbox: Hard things are hard. I struggle every day to do hard things, and I am constantly in the balance between being challenged and overwhelmed. I normally get in to work at 5:30 a.m. and get home around 5:30 p.m. I wake up tired and go to bed tired, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I want to live a big life. I want to work big, love big, give big, and have big faith in Jesus. I’m failing all the time, but I haven’t quit and I don’t think I will. I’m not a big fan of advice, but if I had to give it, I would say a big life is better than a small life.

What was the last thing you had to apologize for? I told my wife I was sorry for working too much.

My recent triumph: We just got to 83 five-star Unruh Furniture reviews on Google, which is a huge accomplishment to me. I have worked really hard to send out a great product to our customers and be the kind of company that takes care of people when there is a problem, and those reviews are our measuring stick. 

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