BISHOP-PARKER FURNITURE CO.
REACHES CENTENNIAL MILESTONE IN 2023
“Our founders built this business with the intention for it to last a long time,” said John Parker, current president of Bishop-Parker Furniture Co., a century-old business with two stores in Montgomery. “That’s why we’re still here. They just did things the right way.”
Matthew Borum Bishop and Charles Daniel Parker, who had worked well together in a local hardware business, founded Bishop-Parker Furniture in 1923 at 9 Monroe St. in downtown Montgomery. Their venture has endured for 100 years, 50 years in downtown and 50 in midtown.
The Bishop and Parker families remain the company owners. The current principals are the grandsons of the founders – Matt Bishop, John Parker and Charles Parker III.
Throughout this year, the Bishop and Parker families have been celebrating 100 years of selling furniture in Montgomery. On social media, they have shared stories about the three generations of their families and their longtime employees – like how the founders became movie stars when their portraits were used for the bank scene in the movie Big Fish.
Under the original M.B. Bishop’s and C.D. Parker’s leadership, the company moved in 1933 to a much larger and visible downtown location on Commerce Street.
The second-generation leadership consisted of:
- Borum Bishop, who started working at Bishop-Parker in 1942, serving in advertising, sales, banking and finally as president. He retired in 1987.
- Charles Daniel Parker Jr., known as Charlie, who founded Bishop-Parker’s interior design program and was vice president of the company when he died in 2007.
- Jimmy Parker, who worked at the business from 1955 until the day he died in 2021. Jimmy worked in sales, advertising, and as a buyer. He became president after Borum Bishop.
The second-generation owners moved the Bishop-Parker Furniture main showroom and retail space to midtown Montgomery in 1973 to its current location at 3035 E. South Blvd. They also opened a warehouse discount store in 1993 on Coosa Street, which existed until 2016.
In 2016, the third generation moved the warehouse discount business to McGehee Road, just across the road from their showroom.
Matt Bishop has been working the longest of the third-generation owners. He started working full time in 1971. He worked in sales and administration, semi-retiring a couple of years ago. He said his first job though was at age 15 in the warehouse. “At 16, I started driving a delivery truck. I enjoyed those years immensely!”
All the current generation grew up in the business.
“My first job was dusting furniture,” said John. “I was probably seven years old.” John began his full-time furniture career in 1998.
Charles started working full time in 1991, seven years before John, but his child apprenticeship didn’t begin as early as his cousin.
“I got started a little later,” said Charles, who now manages the design part of the business. “I was 12.”
Charles recalled his dad, Charlie, “would make me sweep the entire warehouse.” The downtown warehouse “had those old wood, heart pine floors.” First you had to sprinkle “sweeping compound to keep the dust down,” he added.
The Bishops and the Parkers through the years kept meticulous records. “We have two old safes,” said John. “When I went through one a few years ago, I found the paper records of the very first sale.”
In honor of its 100th year, the company is sharing that document as well as ads and sales records from the 1920s and 1930s in a miniature museum inside their retail space.
Sale No. 1 occurred Oct. 5, 1923, for a mahogany bed, box springs and a mattress totaling $30.