By Jessica Vaughn
FOLEY – When starting a business, it’s impossible to predict how long the doors will remain open. For Malouf Furniture + Design, which began in Greenwood, Mississippi, the journey has been going strong for over 70 years. The business recently celebrated its 75th anniversary and plans to continue serving the community for many more years to come.
“Malouf Furniture + Design is a family owned and operated company that was opened by my grandfather in 1946,” said third-generation owner Gardner Malouf. “Our original storefront was a small, single room showroom … Thanks to incredible support from the community, we’ve expanded to our now 60,000 square foot showroom here in Foley. Now, we’re able to offer a much wider range of inventory, looks and prices.”
When visiting Malouf Furniture + Design in Foley, one thing becomes instantly clear once you step inside: the store is much larger than it originally appears from the outside. Along with an expansion of inventory, the store now offers expanded services including a mattress store, window treatments, in-home design consultations and an outlet to serve the “market that loves our look but is looking for a better value,” Malouf said.
Malouf grew up vacationing on the Gulf Coast, and has fond memories and experiences of coming to the area. Another thing he couldn’t miss during his trips was the growth being experienced in the community. With that growth, Malouf saw the opportunity to bring the family business to the area he loved coming to.
“The people that live out here love the area. I love living here, I met my wife and started a family here,” said Malouf. “For me, the Gulf Coast is home and we’re lucky enough to help people make their homes down here feel like home, too.”
The move was a success, as Malouf Furniture + Design continues to grow and attract customers. Since bringing the store to Foley in 2000, Malouf says he and his family have experienced hurricanes, floods, oil spills, and economic downturns. Through it all, the locals have been supportive of the store, recommending it to area newcomers. Being their first thought is something Malouf is greatly proud of, he says.
He believes part of the company’s success over the last 75 years has been the ability to adapt to changes, new ideas, and technology. Most of all, he feels it’s the mentality of guests come first that has kept the business growing over three generations.
“We love that we’ve been able to create a shopping experience that people come back for,” Malouf said. “From the first impression moment with our designers, to grabbing a glass of wine or a coffee at our bar, to pulling fabric samples and finishes – we want our guests to feel like they’re cared for by a small business but have all the resources and options of a much larger store. We make every attempt to give the best experience. At the end of the day, that’s what we offer; we sell the experience, not just furniture.”
To make this happen, Malouf says he’s gathered a team that has become the backbone of the company. Without a trusted team, Malouf Furniture + Design would not be able to offer the same experience as it does today.
“I can’t speak enough to their dedication, performance and attitude,” Malouf said. “It feels fantastic to know that I can trust, and that I am trusted by, the people I work with. The culture here at Malouf is more like a family than a group of coworkers and that makes all the difference in coming to work and how we feel heading home at the end of a day. We work together daily on bettering ourselves as a single unit so that every guest that comes into our store feels the same world class experience in every face that greets them here.”
From what Malouf has seen, he, his team, and past generations seem to be doing something right. One of his most cherished moments of having a multi-generational family business is watching generations of return customers. He said having the opportunity to support families through years of homemaking, watching children as they grow up and into new pieces of furniture until eventually they return to buy furniture for their own homes, is amazing.
“We do more than just unlock the doors and sell furniture,” said Malouf. “Everything we do is geared toward experience. We believe in the customer experience. It’s not a face we put on. We sit behind closed doors and talk about it. You are always on our mind and every decision we make. Another thing that sets us apart, we carry such a wide range of looks, prices, categories. We have designers that are here to assist you through the design process, making your house your home and making it a place you love to be in.”
Malouf Furniture + Design is located at 7745 Highway 59, Foley. To learn more, give them a call at 251-955-5151 or visit the website at www.malouffurniture.com.