Norman N. Tolkan, furniture merchant

January 9

Norman N. Tolkan, who co-owned and operated the Door Store, a chain of low-cost furniture stores, died Dec. 8 at his home in Washington. He was 87.

The cause was complications from pneumonia, said a nephew, Peter Greenwald.

In 1954, Mr. Tolkan and his wife opened the company’s flagship location on M Street NW in Georgetown. At its peak in the late 1980s, the chain had 60 stores in nine states and generated about $50 million in revenue, according to a Washington Post article about the business. The stores stocked furniture and furniture parts that could be assembled into tables, sofas and counters by the buyer.

The Door Store closed in 1996 because of competition from furniture retailers such as Crate & Barrel, Pottery Barn and Ikea, The Post reported.

Norman Nathaniel Tolkan was born in Brooklyn. He was a 1954 graduate of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and spoke a number of languages, among them Italian and Arabic.

After World War II, Mr. Tolkan spent time in Europe and the Middle East working for the State Department. For a time, he was an administrator with the Marshall Plan for postwar reconstruction of Europe.

His wife of 40 years, Constance Heilbrunn Tolkan, died in 1992. Survivors include a son, Victor Tolkan of Washington; a sister; and three grandchildren.

— Megan McDonough

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