Spiffing up at Grove Supply
By Jessie Burchette
CHINA GROVE ó Not even a near-tornado could keep Grove Supply down.
The 59-year-old business took a body blow in July, when high winds ripped off a large portion of the building, caved in the front and wiped out a brick warehouse at the rear of the business.
Grove Supply, which never closed, is upgrading big-time.
“Since we were tore up, we thought it was time to spiffy up,” Mark Huffman, one of the co-owners said recently.
Grove Supply at 1600 North Main St. is getting a major re-do inside and out.
The July storm was the second wind storm to cave in the front and rip the roof. After consulting with engineers, the Huffmans ó brothers Jerry, Tony and Mark ó decided it was time to make changes.
It’s taken a little longer than they expected. Instead of running their carpet operation out of a 5,000-square-foot building, suddenly they were sharing 200 square feet of office space next door with the operation that houses their used car sales business, Grove Motor Co. at 1580 N. Main St.
Huffman said the big delay was getting the engineering work complete.
Engineers recommended changes that include eliminating the roof overhang across the front of the series of buildings.
“The engineer seemed to think the overhang was trapping the wind,” he said.
The revamped structure has more concrete, a lot less glass and specially built steel trusses.
“It took us eight weeks to get the steel trusses,” Huffman said, adding he did everything he could to speed up the process. “I tried to bribe them and that didn’t work.”
The renovated Grove Supply will feature a new facade in a mix of stone and stucco.
And the store inside will have major changes.
Grove Supply has signed up to be a design center for Shaw Industries, a leading carpet manufacturer. “We’re one of three in North Carolina,” Huffman said.
Shaw has a design team that is planning the new interior.
The dressed-up showroom will feature exposed beams and track lighting.
While work continues on the main building, the owners have opted to hold off on the multi-story brick warehouse adjacent to the railroad tracks.
The insurance company offered the option of rebuilding the warehouse, but Huffman said it’s almost more space than they need. They may build a smaller warehouse near U.S. 29, but that’s on the back burner.
The damaged store and the souring economy have provided a perfect opportunity for the business to remodel and re-invent itself.
“We picked a good time to remodel,” Huffman said, adding he hopes the project will be completed by the end of January.
In the meantime, the Huffmans will continue to sell carpet and cars from the tiny space next door. “Whatever it takes, we’re going to be here.”
Alvin Huffman founded the business in 1949. As time passed, the buildings spread out along U.S. 29.
Mark Huffman recalled that his father built another building or added on every five years.