Quiet goodbyes as K-Town closes doors

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 15, 2009

By Hugh Fisher
KANNAPOLIS ó They held the store open late Monday night, but most people had already come to say goodbye at K-Town Furniture.
After decades in business, the furniture store closed its doors yesterday.
The sales floor was quiet, with country versions of Christmas carols playing quietly on the stereo system.
But the gathered office staff and salespeople were somber.
Office manager Cindy Berryman, who’s been with the K-Town organization for more than 30 years, said a lot of former employees and longtime customers had been in to say goodbye.
K-Town Furniture once ran three stores in Kannapolis, Concord and Salisbury.
Another store, Mecklenburg Furniture, was operated by the company in Charlotte.
Across the street from the Kannapolis K-Town, sister store Carolina Interiors ó opened in 1979 as a higher-end retailer ó is still open.
It will close its doors after this coming weekend, Berryman said.
“When I started here 14 1/2 years ago,” Lorraine Aho said, “we had over 200 employees.”
Throughout the day, she said, many came to take one last walk around the store and see old friends.
Aho said she’s thankful for the guidance that K-Town’s owners and management always provided to employees.
She began her career working payroll, then worked her way up in the office.
“They always gave us a chance. They always gave us support,” Aho said.
A few shoppers came in between 5 and 6 p.m. to look at the remaining furniture ó mostly living room suits, a few sets of bedroom furniture and some dining tables.
Linda Myers, one of the last customers to make a purchase yesterday, spent 22 years working downtown at Cannon Mills Plant No. 1. She’s shopped for furniture at K-Town before.
In recent days, she bought several pieces during the liquidation sale.
“They had a high variety and good quality,” Myers said.
“I’m very sad that it’s going,” said Tammy Rorie of Salisbury. “It’s like we’re losing our history.”
Rorie has been in several times since the final sale began to purchase not only furniture, but accessories.
“They’ve got quality furniture and great people,” she said. “It’s a big loss.”
Although a significant amount of furniture remained on the sales floor, it was still only a fraction of K-Town’s former inventory.
Salespeople didn’t know what would happen to the remaining unsold pieces.
K-Town and Carolina Interiors are the latest businesses to leave the downtown shopping district, which is being redeveloped as part of the North Carolina Research Campus project.