Hugo’s celebrates 100 years of quality and service

Hugo’s celebrates 100 years of quality and service

Hugo’s Interiors celebrates their 100th anniversary this month. For four generations, this family-owned firm has been serving generations of Jacksonville families. “Our business is based on quality and customer service,” said Mathew, great grandson of the company’s founder.

What started with a 1,000-square-foot showroom has expanded to 30,000 square feet over the past century. With an extraordinary collection of modern and traditional name brand fine furniture and superior accessories, there can be found an eclectic mix of lamps, mirrors, pictures, and other decorative home accents.

The legacy began in 1921 when Albert Hugo, a German native who was expert at paper hanging, cabinet making, and re-upholstering, stepped off a train in Jacksonville, Florida and stayed for the rest of his life. He set up shop in Nina Cummer’s home in exchange for his professional services. Albert married Euna, a Jacksonville hat maker, who began sewing elaborate window treatments for prominent local families while her husband designed the interiors of their homes with custom-built furniture and original upholstery.

At that time, there were no bridges crossing the river, and most everything was on the north side of the water. Once bridges were built, Albert moved operations to the south side of Jacksonville, to the area now considered East San Marco. “He wanted to form a business where he was the center of the wheel,” said his grandson, Richard, current owner of the corporation. That Philips Highway location is where Hugo’s Interiors remains today.

In 1947, the second generation of Hugos—Edward and Charles—took over the family business as their father, Albert, went into retirement. It is Edward’s son who is president of the company today. Edward’s daughter, Reneé, is now retired but had been active in the family business for many years. Richard’s children, Mathew and Jennie, make up the fourth generation of Hugo’s Interiors.

Hugo’s acreage in East San Marco allows space not only for their extensive showroom but also for workrooms where custom furniture is manufactured, new and re-upholstery projects are fulfilled, and draperies are designed—a legacy left behind by Euna.

The large showroom of Hugo’s Interiors is open to the public and is brimming with décor from a variety of sources. It is not a gallery of any particular manufacturer, and many items found there are one-of-a-kind pieces. “We go to market and cherry-pick all lines to bring back to Jacksonville,” Richard said. And if you find an upholstered piece but prefer a different fabric or color, Hugo’s has access to thousands of samples from multiple fabric houses to choose from.

Another benefit of shopping at Hugo’s is that there is no ordering to be done. You buy what’s on the floor. “What you see is what you get,” said Richard. You can see it, touch it, and take it home. In today’s world, that’s important, as mass production, product availability, and prompt shipping has suffered greatly due to the pandemic. At Hugo’s, there is no waiting until next week, next month, or next year. Most deliveries to your home can be arranged within a couple of days.

For four generations, combining quality with service has been a mainstay of this century-old, yet ever-current business. “The quality we have starts where most furniture stores stops,” said Richard. And as generations have evolved, so has the service reach of Hugo’s Interiors. Over time, the Hugos have broadened their client base beyond the bounds of Jacksonville. Their residential offerings now extend to customers throughout the southeastern United States.

Hugo’s furniture manufacturing and interior designing have expanded into the commercial arena as well, with their wholly owned subsidiary Benchmark Commercial Services, a manufacturer and supplier of commercial, casework, countertops, and trim. With corporate clients nationwide and beyond—Benchmark brings with it Hugo’s high standard of service values and quality craftsmanship that Albert brought to Jacksonville 100 years ago. The Hugos are committed to listening to what customers’ needs are and to servicing those needs, no matter where they live or work.

For artisans looking for employment, “We’re always hiring,” said Mathew, who assists his dad in the running of Hugo’s. The Hugo family is committed to supporting the local economy, and they are fortunate that the demand right now for high-end products is great. Those interested in work can apply directly on the website,, under the Careers tab. “The most important resource we have here are the people we work with,” Mathew said.

Jennie Crosby Hugo
Jennie Crosby Hugo

Jennie, Mathew’s sister, operates Crosby Designs, a second wholly owned subsidiary of Hugo’s. Her 3,000-square-foot design studio is located on Riverside Avenue in Riverside. Its opening in 2011 felt like a “going back home” according to Richard; his daughter’s studio is very near to where his grandfather started the business back in 1921. There’s a coming around full circle to know that Albert’s great granddaughter is carrying on a facet of the family tradition near where he began it 100 years ago.

Jennie has a traditional American work ethic that seems to run in the blood of the Hugo family. In partnership with Hugo’s and Benchmark, Jennie and her team at Crosby Designs have an existing and growing clientele. Staff at the studio is available to bring to life your every design dream, with no project too big or too small.

The great grandchildren of Albert Hugo are now serving the future generations of his first customers. “We are a generational business that has been serving generations of Jacksonville families,” Richard pointed out. Be part of that tradition. Visit weekdays their showroom of quality merchandise in East San Marco. Or call to book an appointment for your next residential or commercial design project.

For their 100th anniversary, the Hugo family plans to have a celebration in the fall, including a private sale for their current clients.

By Mary Wanser
Resident Community News

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