Reina P. Cunningham
In recognition for over 100 years of service to Middlesboro and the surrounding areas, Morgan Furniture has been chosen as this week’s Surviving the Hard Time’s business. Suzanne Rice is the current owner of Morgan’s.
Rice was born and raised in Middlesboro, but left when she was 23. She had been most recently living in Huntsville, Ala.
For the past several years, Rice made monthly trips to Middlesboro to help her uncle with the family business. After her uncle’s passing last year, Rice relocated back to Middlesboro with her sons Andrew, 16, and Aaron, 10.
Although Rice did not officially became the owner of the family business until last year after the passing of her uncle, Morgan had always made it clear in various interviews that he wanted his niece to continue on in the family business. Dewey Morgan had been the owner for decades.
The family business began in 1902 when Susie Morgan, Dewey’s grandmother, opened Morgan’s Grocery and Dry Goods in Morgan Hollow. Morgan Hollow was also known as East Daniels Branch.
The original store was attached to the Morgan family home, which also housed Morgan’s grandfather’s medical office.
In 1947, Susie’s son and Dewey’s father, Bill Morgan, took over the store.
During the 1950s the closing of local coal mines made Bill decide to relocate both his family and the store to Middlesboro. At this point, the store moved across the street from its current location at 211 Lothbury Avenue. When rent at the first Middlesboro location proved too expensive, Dewey borrowed $250 from his mother and made a down payment on the building the store is currently in.
Morgan’s has survived the tests of time through natural disaster. Morgan’s has survived a flood, tornado, two fires and death of owners but yet the family business has remained strong.
One legacy that has remained with the business is the offering of in-house financing. Although most locally owned businesses no longer provide that luxury due to hard economic situations, Rice believes it is what her uncle would have wanted.
“It has not changed,” explained Rice about the long offered service. “We still extend that courtesy.”
The company will soon carry the newest line of Frigidaire appliances. Rice is anticipating the arrival of Frigidaire Gallery.
Morgan’s is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
To nominate a long-standing locally owned business to be featured in Surviving the Hard Times, contact Reina Parker Cunningham at 606-248-1010, ext. 205, email@example.com.