100-year-old McCurry Furniture’s secret for longevity: ‘Treat people the way you would like to be treated’

In 1917, Andrew Jackson McCurry, a dairy farmer known as “A.J.” or “Mr. Mc,” and his good friend C.V. Hoover opened a furniture store at 2221 Second Avenue North in Birmingham.

A.J. wasn’t content to wait for the customers to come to the store, so he would “ride the train from Birmingham to Warrior, then rent a horse and buggy to be able to get around to the mining communities,” his grandson recalls. “He was out after their business.”

From left, Frank Baldwin, Coy Porter, Fannie Madison, Sallie Roberts McCurry and founder Andrew Jackson McCurry in the McCurry Furniture showroom, circa 1927

By 1919, the partners bought a building at 210 Main Street North in Warrior and opened another furniture store in the north Jefferson County city, where it remains today.

“My granddad was the great business man,” said Andrew “Andy” Jackson McCurry III, the third-generation owner of McCurry Furniture, which celebrates its centennial year this month. The formal celebration is planned for 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 5.

A.J. and C.V. kept the friendship, but dissolved their business relationship in 1921. A.J. grew the business, adding stores in Oneonta and Garden City. He even became a partner in a Ford dealership in Warrior.

When the Great Depression hit, A.J.’s oldest son and namesake, Andrew Jackson “Jack” McCurry Jr., a pre-med student at Birmingham-Southern College, was “relieved of college responsibilities,” Andy said. After waiting tables in New York City for a while, Jack came back to Warrior to work for his father.

A bill of sale from a 1938 transaction shows the business continued to outfit full houses as it did in the early days of serving the mining communities. For $89.61 with payments of $2.50 every two weeks, the customer bought a 5-piece bedroom suite, sheets, a mattress and box springs, four chairs, a utility cabinet and a stove. Former dairy farmer A.J. gave the customer a $40 credit for a cow, which was clearly noted on the receipt (see photo).

“I certainly feel blessed that I had a dad and a granddad who did the kind of things it takes to have a business carry on this long and taught us to treat people the way that we would like to be treated,” said Andy.

In the mid-1940s, Jack and his brother-in-law, Carl Jolly, bought the Warrior store. Other family members bought or were running the other locations. Jack and Carl opened a Trussville store, while A.J., whom Andy refers to as “PawPaw,” bought a store in Demopolis that his youngest child and her husband ran until it closed.

Libby and Andy McCurry in the showroom of their Warrior store.

In 1971, Andy came to work for his father and by 1976 had entered a “buy/sell agreement” to take over ownership of the company. While McCurry Furniture only operates the original Warrior store now, it remains a family affair.

Andy’s wife, Libby, serves as the store’s primary in-house designer, while his stepson Dallas Eubanks and daughter-in-law, Andrea, fill such roles as delivery, customer service, sales and media management.

Libby attributes the store’s success and longevity to “integrity and the craftsmanship of our furniture.” She said, “We are a small staff, but we all work hard to take care of our customers.”

The store serves a customer base that exceeds the 3,000 people who live in Warrior. Libby says McCurry Furniture has customers as far north as Huntsville and as far south as Prattville and Montgomery. “It’s great to be in Warrior, Alabama, and great to be part of a small community,” Andy said.

Today’s technology has allowed McCurry Furniture to reach beyond its immediate area. Digital media advertising, a website and social media “have allowed us to really capture a broader audience,” Libby said. Andy added, “We’re thankful” for the new generation of customers.

“We love to be in people’s homes and make friends,” Libby said.

McCurry Furniture has been an Alabama Retail Association member since 2009.

Story and photos by Nancy King Dennis

Find this article on Page 14 of the November 2017 Alabama Retailer

McCurry Furniture recognized as an Alabama Centennial Retailer