James Leroy “Red” Douds, who built his modest appliance sales outlet into a fine home
furnishings business that counts the top-name furniture outlets of western Pennsylvania among
its peers, is a member of the Class of 2022 of the Indiana County Chamber of Commerce Business
Hall of Fame.
Red was born and raised in Plumville, starred on the basketball team at Kiski Prep School, and
graduated in 1928 from Plumville High School. He learned the fundamentals of business as a
helper in his father’s local general store then learned marketing by purchasing produce such as
potatoes, apples, sweet corn and cabbage, along with chickens and eggs from Indiana County
farmers, and selling them in New Kensington and Pittsburgh.
Along with his wife Martha, Red started an appliance sales shop in 1947 near his dad’s store in
Plumville. His earliest clients were area farmers who asked him to bring washers, stoves or
iceboxes back to them from Pittsburgh.
Three years, later he expanded his line to include furniture and carpeting, and at age 41 built
the first section of the sprawling showroom store that still does business today as Douds of
As Red added product lines and services to the business, he expanded the store in 1954, 1958 and
1968, when he became one of the earliest furniture dealers to dedicate entire sections to the
display of suites of furniture. By employing trained decorators to assist customers in selecting
coordinated interiors, Douds of Plumville enabled home and business owners to see how full rooms
of fine furniture from the best known manufacturers in the industry could be customized to look
the best in their homes and offices.
The addition of handcrafted draperies, ceramic and hardwood flooring, kitchen and bath
furnishings and complimentary personalized design consultation, along providing high quality at
superior value, made Douds of Plumville a destination for homeowners from large and small
communities throughout western Pennsylvania.
Red diversified his business interests while his staff and family helped to grow the furniture
store. He was an ownership partner of Thrift Finance Company in Indiana and a member of the S&T
Bank board of directors.
Red’s passion for horses and his record of owning and racing standardbred harness horses earned
his appointment as chairman of the Pennsylvania Harness Racing Commission and his election to
the Western Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Douds of Plumville been a family owned business from its start, and the second and third
generations had joined in its operation before Red passed away in 1991. Its growth has
continued, too: A second location opened in 1994 on Route 30 in Greensburg.
Red’s daughter Priscilla Brice, son-in-law Tom Brice and grandchildren General Manager Bart
Brice, Lead Designer Lori Gradwell and Todd Brice today keep Douds of Plumville one of the most
respected names in home furnishings in Pennsylvania and neighboring states.
The Indiana County Chamber of Commerce welcomes J.L. “Red” Douds to the Class of 2022 of the
Business Hall of Fame.