A local business owner saw the need to open up a furniture store in downtown Whitesburg and did it.
“Letcher County didn’t have a furniture store and I thought we needed one,” said Kelvin Eldridge, owner of Sears at Mayking. “I just thought it would be a good time to put one in. I try to help the community.”
Eldridge, along with his fiancée Vicki Fields, opened Bella Home Furnishings April 5 in the same building which was occupied by Hoover’s Home Furnishings for nearly 50 years. Hoover’s closed in 2009, leaving an empty building in downtown.
“They only closed because Dawahare’s closed,” said Eldridge. “It wasn’t because they weren’t making money.”
It has been almost three years since a furniture store has been located in downtown Whitesburg and Eldridge, who has owned the Sears outlet for eight years, thought people needed a local place to buy beds, couches and dinette sets.
“It seems like when we lose a business a lot of times we don’t get one back,” said Eldridge. “If you spend money locally it stays here.”
Eldridge said the reaction from the public has been positive in the first four weeks since Bella Home Furnishings opened.
“We’ve had a lot of people come in and say they are glad we opened up,” said Eldridge. “We’ve been very fortunate. I’m glad to see them come in and say ‘We don’t need anything now, but we’ll be back.’”
Fields came up with the idea for the name of the business.
“Bella means beautiful,” said Eldridge. “It’s not somebody in the family. We’ll just call it ‘Bella’ for beautiful furniture.”
Fields said they have specialordered several items for customers so far.
“ They know what they are looking for when they come in,” she said.
Eldridge said there is great demand for furniture and bedding in Letcher County. He has sold several mattresses and has had a hard time keeping them in stock.
Eldridge said he is trying to provide a variety of items in different price ranges to fit everyone’s needs. The store also carries different styles to include modern, contemporary and classic furniture.
“I think everyone needs the opportunity to find what they are looking for,” said Eldridge.
When the upstairs of the building is remodeled, Eldridge also plans on selling cribs and toddler beds.
Bella Home Furnishings carries artwork from local and regional artists including Rabbit Holcomb of Blackey, the late Brett Johnson and the late Russell May. Eldridge said the store would like to offer more art from other local artists.
The store offers free, local delivery with financing available.