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It’s all in the family: Grove Supply Co. turns 70

CHINA GROVE — Seventy years ago, Alvin and Irene Huffman opened Grove Supply Co. and, through the ups and downs of the economy and a storm that forced a temporary relocation, the family-owned business continues to look forward.

The carpet and flooring store at 1600 N. Main St. in China Grove has gone through changes, beginning as a hardware store and adding and removing products over the years.

“Honestly, our business has stayed strong,” said Karen Huffman, who works on the sales floor and is married to the founders’ son, Mark. “Of course, everybody has a slow time every now and then. It’s just been steady. We have a lot of repeat customers. Families tell other families. … First and foremost, I give all the credit to the Lord, because I know that’s where our blessings come from.”

Decades ago, Alvin and Irene Huffman moved to China Grove and started Grove Supply. The pair moved to China Grove from Mooresville and had little to their name, said Jerry Huffman, one of three Huffman sons.

“My dad really went out on a limb to start this little business,” Jerry said.

Things started small but continued to grow.

In the 1970s, Jerry and his younger brothers, Tony and Mark went to work at Grove Supply.

“I guess it was meant to be,” Jerry said. “It’s in the blood — the retail sales.”

Over the years, the business has remained steady. But, like any other business, there have been changes. Jerry and his three brothers, who were managing the company, chose to retire. The three brothers currently operate Grove Motor, adjacent to Grove Supply, but the 70-year-old business is still family-owned and -operated.

The Grove Supply building, unfortunately, was also in the path of a 2008 microburst, an intense downward burst of air. It demolished the building, and the business was temporarily relocated to the offices at Grove Motor Co., but the business persevered, continuing to sell flooring. Ten years later, it’s still going strong.

The range of services offered today include selling and installing a variety of flooring types. The business has also branched out into granite countertops and vent-free, gas log fireplaces.

“The staff here is very knowledgeable about their products and customer service is our highest priority enabling us to stay strong through the last 70 years,” Karen said.

Family owned and operated for generations, the business is a part of the Huffman’s DNA, she said.

“It’s just been in the family so long,” she said. “It’s just a normal part of life just to get up and come here every day.”

Remaining a family-run business for 70 years takes perseverance, but Grove Supply family knows it has a strong foundation.

Grove Supply Co. is open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8:30 a.m to 1 p.m. Saturday.

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