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Furniture store relocates to new site

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Cathy and Joseph Worsley buy furniture for a college apartment Saturday at Tarboro Clearance Center in Tarboro.

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BY WILLIAM F. WEST
Staff Writer

Monday, August 12, 2019

What had been a huge hole in downtown Tarboro’s business scene is now filled, thanks to a furniture store having relocated there.

Tarboro Clearance Center opened at the start of this month at the former Tarboro Maxway discount store at 322 N. Main St.

Tarboro Clearance Center is a family owned business, with Don Sullivan and daughter Heather Sullivan being the owners and with the daughter being the manager.

Tarboro Clearance Center sells bedroom suits, dinette sets and living room sets, as well as pictures and rugs.

Tarboro Clearance Center had been at 2109 St. Andrew St. in the northern part of town.

Heather Sullivan told the Telegram that the problem with the previous location was the interior had many walls.

Heather Sullivan said as a result, the previous location did not offer a lot of square footage and did not give people the chance to be able to visually scan the entire area of merchandise.

She said of the old Maxway location, “It’s one wide-open building. So it’s easier to display furniture. And it’s also a much larger building, so we can display more furniture than what we’ve had in the past.

“When you walk in our front doors, you can see everything that we offer,” she said.

The Maxway closed in early May after the store’s parent company, Henderson-based Variety Wholesalers, in late April opened a Roses at the Riverside Plaza shopping center.

“When we found out that Maxway was closing, we went and spoke to the owner at that point in time. So we jumped on the building as soon as it was available,” Heather Sullivan said.

And she said of the location that “Main Street was a plus.”

Heather Sullivan said she and her father bid farewell to the St. Andrew Street location on July 27 after having completed the lease agreement with the landlord there.

She said her father had long been in the Carolinas with what was the Heilig-Meyers chain of furniture stores, working his way up to management positions before eventually deciding he and the family should go into the furniture business.

She said the family business was first established in 2004 in Scotland Neck.

She said the business branched into the Edgecombe County seat approximately four years later by opening a store along St. Andrew Street before eventually relocating that store just down the street.

She said the store in Scotland Neck had to be closed after sustaining hurricane-force damage.

As for the downtown Tarboro location, she said the business has two employees.

The business offers a delivery and setup service and serves surrounding areas, including Rocky Mount, Greenville and Wilson.

“We deal with a wide range of people and backgrounds — and we have furniture that matches those needs because we carry a little bit of it all,” Heather Sullivan said.

Tarboro Mayor Joe Pitt told the Telegram that he is thrilled the former Maxway space is filled.

“There’s still more spaces downtown open than we would prefer, of course,” Pitt said. “But that’s a slot. That’s good. You’ve got to keep your head up and keep prodding forward.”

He was referring to Tarboro’s efforts to fill vacant spaces in the central business district.

“The empty stores downtown still worry me a little bit, but we’re knocking ‘em out one at a time,” he said.

Tina Parker, who coordinates Tarboro’s Main Street revitalization program, told the Telegram that the downtown economic vitality committee began working to identify a potential tenant once she and her team learned the Maxway was closing.

Parker also said the landlord started seeking a tenant, quickly leading to the re-occupancy of the location.

“We were happy with the interest in the building from multiple businesses and are thankful that the space has allowed a business the opportunity for expansion,” Parker said in an email.

She said since Tarboro Clearance Center opened in the former Maxway, she and her team have seen many people going in and out.

“We have been impressed by the volume of inventory, learning that the store offers unique closeout pieces and new inventory weekly,” she said.

She also emphasized the business is using Facebook as a marketing tool. The business has more than 1,400 followers on the social media site.

The business is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. The business can be reached by phone at 252-823-5545.