Longtime family-owned furniture business closing

After nearly 50 years of business in Macon, a family-owned furniture company is going out of business.

Fuerniss Furniture, 875 Burris Road, just off Riverside Drive, is closed to the public until Friday, when it will begin its $5 million going-out-of-business sale. The higher-quality furniture store will be selling furniture, accessories, bedding and oriental rugs from its store and warehouse.

“We’ve noticed like most business people in all sorts of industries, not just ours, that consumer buying habits have changed, and we’re not sure they will go back to where they were,” said Ronny Fuerniss, who co-owns the store with his brother Steven Fuerniss. “For the last year or so, we’ve had the conversation in our family how we wanted to react to that and so we decided we wanted to move into a new direction and pursue other ventures.”

While Ronny Fuerniss was not ready to disclose what that new venture would be, he said the new business would be in the same location.

The company has six employees, and an effort will be made to give workers an opportunity to work in the new business, he said.

The expected road work along Interstate 75 and Riverside Drive between Pierce Avenue and Arkwright Road, which is scheduled to begin this week, did not figure into the decision to close, Fuerniss said.

“Riverside is still a good and viable option,” he said. “If people want to find you, they will find you.”

This is the second furniture store off Riverside Drive to announce its closure during the past two weeks.

Aunt Zelda’s Furniture at Riverside Drive and Pierce Avenue, announced at the end of July it would be closing. More than one thing figured into Aunt Zelda’s leaving Macon, co-owner Brian Edwards said last month. The decision was based on the economy, the pending road construction and not being able to find a site in north Bibb County that suited their needs, Edwards said. The Aunt Zelda’s store in Warner Robins will remain open.

The Fuerniss family business began in 1961 with a store on Poplar Street in Macon, Fuerniss said. His parents opened the store downtown, called McClure Furniture Co., in 1961. After that store burned down in 1974, the family bought the existing property and built the building “in the suburbs” in 1975, he said.

The Fuerniss brothers have worked in the store since they were teenagers, but they are relying on lessons learned from their father, who died in 2008.

“He was always the one who believed in changing with the times,” Fuerniss said. “As we adjusted to changes in the economy, we’ve thought a lot about what he would do, obviously, and have relied on memories of all the advice he’s given us over the years.”

To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.