Brittany D. McClure
The Valdosta Daily Times
In these difficult economic times when so many businesses are struggling and failing, it is refreshing to see a business that is not only standing on its own two feet, but that is prospering.
Owner Chad VanNamee’s Furniture Express, Beds for Less opened in 2000 at his first location on 1117 N. Ashley St.
VanNamee carried only mattresses for the first two years.
“We went into bedroom sets and just kept growing,” said VanNamee.
VanNamee remained on Ashley Street for more than 12 years when he decided it was time for a change.
“We had just outgrown the place,” said VanNamee.
In November, VanNamee changed the name of his business to Furniture Express, Beds for Less and moved from a 5,000-square-foot display floor to a 20,000-square-foot display floor at his new location at 808 N. Patterson St., across from The Crescent.
VanNamee grew his business from 200 mattress pieces to a now staggering couple of thousand pieces including dining room furniture, living room furniture, bedroom sets and more mattress brands including Serta.
The new building was a perfect fit for VanNamee and his business.
“The building was built for a furniture store, so it was perfect,” said VanNamee.
VanNamee had to make a lot of improvements to the building. He pulled out the carpet and completely re-did the floors, painted the interior and the exterior, re-did the parking lot and even put in energy efficient lighting.
“The community is really happy with us for fixing up the building and all the improvements we made to it,” said VanNamee.
In particular, Valdosta Mayor John Gayle and The Crescent were very pleased with the progress to the once-abandoned building.
Aside from fixing a prominent building near the entrance to the Downtown Valdosta area, VanNamee works with various charitable organizations in town.
He works with the St. Frances Center, an outreach ministry of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church on East Mary Street and Lowndes Associated Ministries to People (LAMP).
To both organizations, VanNamee donates various pieces of furniture and mattresses.
“The community takes care of us so we like to give back to the community,” said VanNamee.
While VanNamee’s business has had significant growth, for now, he’s done.
“For right now, we are done expanding, but if we keep growing, we will have to find another location,” said VanNamee as he laughed.
While there are several other furniture stores in town, Furniture Express, Beds for Less has its own attributes.
On top of offering a large selection at competitive prices, Furniture Express, Beds for Less is a family-run operation with deep roots.
“I’ve been in this business my whole life,” said VanNamee.
VanNamee’s parents and grandparents owned furniture stores in upstate New York.
VanNamee’s mother, Diane VanNamee, who works with him as inventory control, used to be a nurse.
“She was working in Dowling Park ... and she talked me into moving down,” said VanNamee.
VanNamee came to Valdosta in 1999. One year later, he opened his first store.
“It’s a family business,” said VanNamee.
In addition to his mother, his father, Gordon VanNamee, works in sales and advertising and his wife, Kari VanNamee, works in sales.
He has three additional employees and because of his growth, he’s looking to hire more help.
“Another sales person and hopefully two warehouse guys,” said VanNamee.
Furniture Express, Beds for Less is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. For more information: Call (229) 293-0040.