Local News

After 52 Years, Cumberland Furniture Closes Up Shop

Posted June 3, 1999

— A downtownFayettevillelandmark is closing up shop. After more than 50 years in business, Cumberland Furniture is saying goodbye to its longtime customers.

Cumberland Furniture has a long history on Person Street. As other businesses moved out of downtown years ago, Cumberland Furniture stayed. But now it's time to say goodbye.

Gary Mendelsohn has worked behind the counter since he was a little boy. He took over his parents' business after they both passed away. Cumberland Furniture has been in downtown Fayetteville since 1947.

Time has run out. Mendelsohn is closing the family business with mixed feelings.

"It just wasn't profitable anymore," he said. "It was a hard thing to do, but it was the right thing to do."

The business was so profitable and popular in the early days it moved from a small location to an 18,000 square-foot building that was knocked down to build an intersection.

They moved into another new building that tripled the size in the early 1970s. Through the years, Cumberland Furniture never left Person Street.

"I still have the furniture they bought 50 years ago," says George Malone, whose parents shopped at the store. It was the only furniture store in town that would sell his family, and other African American families, furniture on credit.

"I kind of feel sad about it closing because after my parents shopped there, we also shopped there too," Malone said.

The furniture is moving out, but Mendelsohn says he is committed to downtown and its revitalization. He already has plans.

"I'd like to see some apartments go upstairs and retail downstairs," he said.

Other members of the Mendelsohn family own furniture stores across the state. A cousin has owned a furniture store in Wilmington for more than 90 years.

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