Archived Story

McGhee Mattress opens on Hillabee Street

Published 12:53pm Friday, July 6, 2012

It’s been a long journey, but David McGhee, former owner of Hillabee House furniture store, is back in town and selling furniture under a new name.

It’s called McGhee Mattress, and it’s located next to the original Hillabee House at the corner of Hillabee Street and Eighth Avenue.

During the store’s early years, McGhee said Hillabee House had two locations – he was in charge of the Alexander City shop while his friend and business partner Mike Poe ran the Dadeville Hillabee House.

But when the old EDCO building on Franklin Street became available, McGhee said he decided to consolidate.

“I said (to Poe), ‘Why don’t we go in together and buy the EDCO building, and instead of having two little stores, we will have one big one,’” McGhee said. “We were both working six days a week, so we figured we could split it up and work three days a week.”

The Dadeville and Alexander City Hillabee House stores combined, and McGhee said they stayed that way for the next ten years until disaster struck.

“A lot of people think a mud slide took out the building,” McGhee said. “It was metal fatigue – the metal wore out over the years, the back wall fell, and the roof caved in.”

The bad luck didn’t stop there. That night, a storm blew through town, McGhee said.

“The roof had collapsed and was like a funnel,” McGhee said. “It started raining, and the water hit all of that mud behind my building, and it sent the mud rushing through. “

McGhee salvaged what he could from the old store, but the building was beyond repair. With his business reduced to rubble and an economy that wasn’t looking much better, McGhee decided not to reopen HIllabee House.

Though he left Alexander City, McGhee said he couldn’t escape the furniture business. McGhee moved to Port St. Joe, Fla., and began a new business model.

The new McGhee Mattress had a warehouse, but not storefront, and catered to local realtors who were constantly buying furniture for rental homes.

After a while of running the Port St. Joe store, McGhee decided to resume selling furniture in Alexander City – this time around, however, his business model has changed.

“I used to have a huge store – the showroom itself was 10,000 square feet,” McGhee said. “What I am going to do here, however, is different. Rather than be a full-service furniture store, I want to be a close out center.”

McGhee said this will allow him to offer lower prices, but it means his inventory will be less consistent than at Hillabee House.

“You might walk in here one day, and I will have 50 recliners,” McGhee said. “The next week, I might have all tables and chairs.”

For the time being, McGhee is splitting his time between his Florida store and the recently opened Alexander City location.

“I am always here Thursday, Friday and Saturday, but I am hoping to go back to 6 days a week eventually,” McGhee said.

The hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. McGhee Mattress can be reached by calling 850-596-9552.

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