From middle school on, I had decided I would like to become a merchant because of the admiration and respect I had for a grocer and clothing storeowner in our hometown of Bloomville Ohio.
At 15 years of age, I worked with a roof painter and in the summer by age 16, I had my own painting crew. One evening, when I was 16 years old, a friend and I were roller-skating at the Tiffin roller rink. Two young girls fell down in front of us. I helped one of the attractive girls up and little did I realize she would become my wife, business partner, mother of our
four children, grandmother and great grandmother to many great-grandchildren. What a joy a family is!
We decided to start a furniture store in a house, as this was common during that time period. We were not of legal age and could not secure a loan, but my wifes parents had a lot of faith in us and guaranteed the loan for
In looking for a location we drew a circle on a map that we were interested in staying within. We wanted to be in somewhat close proximity to our families. The last possibility was Forest because there was an established store there, plus the owner had his own loan company. Therefore, Forest was not an option for us at that time. While out driving we saw a sign, which said Dunkirk 6 miles, and we decided to visit the former minister from our hometown church. Unbeknown to us, he had been transferred from Dunkirk to Lakeview. He knew of our plans to open a furniture store in the area. He thought that was a great idea and knew of a home on Main Street of Dunkirk that was available. On October 27th, 1947, we opened our furniture business in Dunkirk, Ohio.
We expanded several times but needed a larger facility. In the next 2 or 3 years the furniture dealer in Forest retired. A newer, larger building became available in Forest, but would require more capital. We applied to several banks, but we were turned down. One bank president even said, Young man, buy yourself a lunch bucket and go to work in a factory. Later I found out he had told a very successful competitor the same thing. A local banker and customer heard we were interested in moving to Forest. He set up an appointment with the president of the bank and approved our loan, but said if we got into difficulties to return the key. Over 60 years later we still have that key! In May 1951 we were able to move our business to Forest, Ohio.
Over the years we purchased 11 properties and created McBride Furniture Village. Many customers have told us, We wish we had found this store sooner. McBride Furniture Village includes many turn of the century buildings, plus new construction. This includes a 25 tall, six-tiered warehouse with guide rails and stock picker, which was state of the art at that time. We received notoriety in a national furniture publication and a letter from the president of the forklift company thanking us and stating that they had received an order for 100 lifts as a result of the publication. Our furniture village is quite unique and many customers visit while entertaining out-of-town guests.
We shall continue to show the latest in styles and quality with small town pricing by visiting the High Point Market in North Carolina as well as many other markets. By displaying in different room settings, customers can see how the furniture will look in their own homes. We also offer decorating services at no charge.
The success of our business can be traced, in a large part, to the many dedicated, knowledgeable, associates and customers we have been privileged to work with throughout our many years.
- C.L. McBride and Marcile McBride