McBrayer Fu­ni­ture Com­pany, a place for fine fur­ni­ture; South­ern hos­pi­tal­ity

The Standard Journal - - Business - By AGNES HAGIN Se­nior As­sis­tant Edi­tor

Men­tal im­ages of a by­gone era flash through the mind when first meet­ing Lois Sch­nei­der at McBrayer Fur­ni­ture Com­pany in Cedar­town.

Her sil­ver hair gleams like a halo around a sweet face. The feel­ing per­sists that this is a South­ern belle from days when the front ve­randa was a gath­er­ing place for fam­ily ac­tiv­i­ties. Laugh­ter and the faint smell of mag­no­lia linger in the mind un­til she speaks.

A mu­si­cal voice of­fers the cus­tom­ary greet­ing as she be­gins a con­ver­sa­tion about a prim­i­tive piece once housed in the old rail­road de­pot. She ges­tures to daugh­ter Claire Ni­chols, who is busy talk­ing to cus­tomers.

Mother and daugh­ter are part­ners in the fam­ily busi­ness that has been the home of fine fur­ni­ture since 1906. The com­pany was founded be­fore mov­ing to Polk County in the 1920s.

At age 18, Sch­nei­der ar­rived in town to pur­chase a Bing Crosby record. Mary Alice Grif­fin asked her if she was look­ing for a job. Grif­fin sug­gested a visit to McBrayer Fur­ni­ture could re­sult in work for the young woman that had re­cently com­pleted high school.

Part of the in­ter­view was a re­quest to type busi­ness letters. Lois com­pleted the task with no er­rors and left the build­ing with what would be­gin as a job and de­velop into a ca­reer.

“The date was April 21, 1947,” Sch­nei­der said. “I still re­mem­ber my ex­cite­ment.”

The busi­ness later moved from Main Street into a ware­house off West Av­enue fol­low­ing the death of the founder’s son.

In 1952, the store was re­lo­cated to the build­ing that once housed Allen’s 5 & 10 at 502 Main Street.

“I re­mem­ber how we got this lo­ca­tion,” Sch­nei­der said. “We were look­ing for a place and saw a for sale sign in the win­dow. We rented it and the rest is his­tory.”

Lois and her hus­band Adam Sch­nei­der pur­chased the busi­ness in 1960. There­after, they wel­comed A. H. Stephen­son as a part­ner. Fol­low­ing his death, the cou­ple be­came sole own­ers in 1975. The build­ing was later sold and is now leased.

Claire Ni­chols re­mem­bers a child­hood when down­town Cedar­town was crowded with people, es­pe­cially on Satur­days. There were many other pop­u­lar stores to at­tract cus­tomers such as Belk’s and J. C. Pen­ney.

“Busi­ness was boom­ing and ev­ery­one made a trip to town at least once a week,” she said. “Times have changed but we still serve cus­tomers who re­mem­ber com­ing here to shop with their par­ents or grand­par­ents.”

To­day, McBrayer Fur­ni­ture of­fers a full line of home fur­nish­ings and all types of ac­ces­sories, in­clud­ing lamps and pic­tures.

“We are a one stop shop for people of all ages who want to fur­nish their home,” Ni­chols said. “A cus­tomer can even de­sign a sofa they want and we can get it with a spe­cial or­der.”

The store still of­fers free de­liv­ery and set up of its mer­chan­dise, which is 90 per­cent Amer­i­can made.

It is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mon­day, Tues­day, Thurs­day, Fri­day and Satur­day and closed on Wed­nes­day and Sun­day.

For more in­for­ma­tion about this lo­cal busi­ness, call 770-748-4710.

Agnes Hagin/ SJ

Lois Sch­nei­der wel­comes cus­tomers to McBrayer Fur­ni­ture Com­pany.

Agnes Hagin/ SJ

McBrayer Fur­ni­ture – home of fine fur­ni­ture since 1906 – is lo­cated at 502 Main Street.

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