A&R Furniture & Interiors closing both store locations

After nearly three and a half decades in business, A&R Furniture & Interiors, with locations in Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo, is closing.

An employee called it a “retirement” for longtime owner Noreen Martin, rather than a financially forced closure. Martin was unavailable for comment Wednesday.

Martin opened the Paso Robles location at 839 12th St. in 1977, fresh out of Cal Poly with a degree in interior design. She opened the San Luis Obispo store in 1998.

But the stores have not been immune to the recession.

In 2009, Martin nearly closed A&R’s San Luis Obispo location at 1301 Broad St. because of waning sales.

But she made an emotional rather than a business decision, she said at the time, to keep it open after finding a strong salesperson.

The A&R team tried a number of strategies to revive the business, such as reducing prices by negotiating with manufacturers and stocking contemporary items, bedding and drapery.

A&R has nine employees, said the worker contacted Wednesday, who did not want to be identified.

Martin is also president and chief executive officer of Martin Resorts, a firm that owns several local hotels.