Women of Distinction 2021: BILTRITE Furniture-Leather-Mattresses

This special section features some of our city’s most accomplished female leaders. These women represent a wide variety of fields, from finance and education to interior design, health care and more. Join us in saluting them in our third annual Women of Distinction!

Randi Komisar Schachter, Sarah Komisar, Gail Komisar; Photo by Linda Smallpage, Boutique Photographer


Founded in 1928 by Irwin Kerns, BILTRITE Furniture-Leather-Mattresses remains in the family four generations later. Kerns’ great-granddaughter Randi Komisar Schachter started working at BILTRITE when she was just 12 years old and went from doing odd jobs to directing the store’s sales and marketing efforts. Her mother, Gail Komisar, has been a part of the store’s leadership team since 1977, and Sarah Komisar, Gail’s daughter-in-law, joined BILTRITE in 2013 and is now a sales and design associate and the lead employee trainer. “We’re a women-led business,” Randi says. “Three out of the five family members running the store are women.” Over 93 years, BILTRITE has expanded dramatically from a small storefront on North Third Street to its current expansive showroom in Greenfield. “We’re the largest locally and family-owned store left in Wisconsin,” Randi says. “It’s just amazing to see all the passion that our family and our team brings to the table.”

“We don’t have a corporate mentality – we have a family mentality.”


– Randi Komisar Schachter



What do you think are some of the benefits that come with being a family-owned business for four generations?

Randi Komisar Schachter: Right now, we’re celebrating 93 years in business. We care about our business. We have passion. We don’t skip steps. We don’t have the corporate mentality – we have the family mentality. And we also understand the Wisconsin look, what people are looking for, what they want – we’re not thinking nationally, we’re thinking locally.

What are some of the most rewarding aspects of your work?

Seeing how we’ve grown the store. We went from the Flintstones to the Jetsons. We are the biggest locally and family-owned store left in Wisconsin. It’s awesome to see all the passion that our family and our team brings to the table. We’re a family business – we all love each other at the end of the day.


This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s November issue.

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