published Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Longtime Northwest Georgia furniture business closing

A 65-year-old independent furniture store in Northwest Georgia is calling it quits amid what its owner calls mounting pressure on small businesses.

Stansell Furniture, a retailer of furniture, bedding and home accents with locations in LaFayette and Trion, plans to close before the end of the year, said owner Larry Stansell.

A going-out-of-business sale started last week and the business will shut down in November or before then if it sells its merchandise, he said.

Stansell, whose father Earl started the furniture store in 1948, said changes in the business environment are accelerating.

"There has been much more economic pressure on every small business," Stansell said. "Ours was not an exception."

While he cited a loyal customer base, he said that Mount Vernon Mills, a major employer in Trion, has had its own difficulties and that has spilled over in the town.

The 65-year-old Stansell also said he had open heart surgery four months ago.

"With the economy and health issues, we decided to close it down," he said.

Stansell said his father had sold the business to another individual in 1966. But after graduating from the University of Georgia, Stansell bought it in 1972 and has held it since then.

The stores are currently run by Stansell's daughter, Melissa, and her husband, Adam Hankins.

"They have another business opportunity," Stansell said. "They're going to pursue other interests."

Stansell said he owns the buildings where the U.S. Highway 27 stores are located and would entertain offers for those, or he may lease the space.

The stores, which employ about 11 people, have put in discounts at up to 50 percent during the sale. Products are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

"It's going to be a wall-to-wall sell out," said Melissa Hankins. "We invite all of our many customers to come by and support a family run business that has been a big part of the community for many, many years. We pride ourselves in providing home furnishings that enable customers to express their style at the lowest possible prices."

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318.

about Mike Pare...

Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...

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