In recognition for their 77 years of service to Middlesboro and the surrounding areas, Cardwell Home Furnishings has been chosen as this week’s Surviving the Hard Times business.
Cardwell’s was opened in 1936 by the father/son duo of Ballard and Treecy Cardwell. Currently, the store is owned by husband and wife, Bill and Joy Cardwell. Ballard and Treecy were Bill’s father and grandfather.
Ballard and Treecy opened Bell Hardware and Cardwell and Sons Furniture at 19th Street and Lothbury. The location was formerly the Livery Stable. Eventually the hardware store went out of business and the furniture store was expanded.
Ballard also had furniture stores in Pineville and Virginia, but after Bill and Joy acquired the family business they decided to move all of the inventory to the Middlesboro store and close the other locations.
The Cardwells have seen more than their share of disasters throughout the seven decade long family business.
Cardwell’s has survived the tests of time through a flood, tornado, fire and death. After both a flood and tornado destroyed the business, the family rebuilt at the original location.
After a fire in 1995 destroyed the original location of Cardwell’s, Bill decided to relocate the business to its current location at 120 S. 19th Street.
The most recent tragedy the Cardwells have dealt with is losing one of their best salesman, David, who was Bill’s brother. David was fondly known to customers and throughout the community as “squirrel.”
Although Bill misses his brother on a daily basis, he is thankful for the lifetime of memories he has of working with his brother at the family’s stores.
“We were raised up in the business,” explained Cardwell.
Cardwell credits his family’s desire for complete customer satisfaction coupled with the camaraderie with local “competitors” as the main reasons his family’s business has been able to survive in tough economic conditions.
If his store does not meet the needs of a customer, he will send them down the road to his friends at Morgan Furniture, and the staff of Morgan’s returns the favor with their customers.
Cardwell’s currently has nine employees, including Bill and Joy’s daughter, A.T.
You can see a full list of the various furniture options available at Cardwell’s at http://www.cardwellhomefurnishings.com/ or call the store at 606-248-3490 with specific questions.
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, firstname.lastname@example.org.