Furniture store marks milestone
BY WILLIAM F. WEST
BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Sunday, April 21, 2019
A downtown Rocky Mount business has been serving customers for nearly three decades now.
Davis Furniture Co., located at 163 S.E. Main St., uses approximately 16,000 square feet to offer bedroom sets, dining room sets and living room sets, as well as appliances and electronics. The company is going to turn 30 by autumn.
"We actually have almost some third-generation customers by now," part-owner Melanie Davis said with a smile.
As for how Davis Furniture has been able to keep the doors open for so long, Davis said, "We have a wonderful customer base and wonderful employees, long-lasting employees. We have had very little turnover." Davis Furniture has three full-time and four part-time employees.
"We sell a lot out of the store — and we do delivery," Davis said. "We have our own in-store financing that we offer. So we have a lot of return customers."
As for who selects the furniture from larger markets to sell in the store, she said, "I'm basically the buyer."
There is quite a bit of history in the Davis Furniture building, which features old-time ceilings. The building is at the northeast corner of Southeast Main and Hill Street and in the heart of Rocky Mount's downtown central business district.
The Davis Furniture building had been the location of Tucker Furniture, where Melanie Davis' late father, Doug, had worked as manager.
In 1989, Doug Davis went into business for himself nearby on Main Street by acquiring Low's, which was a family-owned appliance store. Doug Davis integrated the former Low's location to include a furniture business.
Doug Davis eventually acquired the Tucker Furniture location and eventually consolidated the former Tucker and the former Low’s locations into the present Davis Furniture location.
"My dad was an entrepreneur at heart," Melanie Davis said, also referring to him as a hard worker and a wise and compassionate man.
Melanie Davis, 47, said she has been in the family business since she was 17. Her sister, Meredith Davis, 44, also is a part owner of Davis Furniture.
The Davis Furniture building, which is 3½ stories, underwent a renovation in 2007, with the upstairs windows, which had been covered, being restored so sunlight can enter. Melanie Davis also said the front exterior is going to be repainted.
While Davis Furniture has remained in business, the main corridors in downtown Rocky Mount are presently a scene of numerous shuttered or vacant storefronts.
As for how Davis Furniture hangs in there in such a situation, Melanie Davis said with a hearty laugh, "We just keep on trucking. We just have faith. We have faith in the area — and we have faith in our customers. And we just don't give up."
She is quick to note a lot of businesses have opened downtown the past few years.
"So it's encouraging. It is very encouraging," she said.
And she noted the presence of the Imperial Centre for the Arts and Sciences, the ongoing revitalization efforts in the Douglas Block and the development of the Station Square business and professional center.
"It's a lot more active down here now," she said.
David Jenkins, 57, said he likes working for the company. Jenkins assembles furniture and makes deliveries.
Jenkins spoke of seeking to put smiles on peoples' faces when they might be feeling down and noted, "If I was getting furniture, I would want people to treat me like we treat them."
"But other than that, we have a good time going to different places," he said.
He said he has been to Elizabeth City, Wilmington and Virginia.
"Of course, we run to Raleigh and Durham all the time," he added.
Russell Turner, 75, waits on customers, sells merchandise and takes payments.
Turner said he likes working for the Davis family "because they're nice people."
"And they do customer service. They do their customers well," Turner said.
And he likes the store's throwback setting, noting, "You just don't see any construction like that anymore."
Davis Furniture is open from 9 a.m.to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays. The business can be reached by phone at 252-446-0163 and is on Facebook.