Originally created 09/25/04

Store owner hopes for bright future at location



One of downtown's big empty buildings is being furnished.

The former Cobern Furniture building will again be home to a furniture retailer after a nearly four-year hiatus.

Tommy Moxley, the owner of Appliance Land on Washington Road, will open Furniture Land in November.

The 30,000-square-foot building at the corner of Broad and 11th streets originally housed Rhodes Furniture, which moved to Wrightsboro Road in 1979. The building then operated as Cobern Furniture before closing in 2000.

"It's a great old building," Mr. Moxley said. "When they built it, they built it right."

The years of disuse, however, have taken their toll. Mr. Moxley pressure washed the entire building, inside and out, reground the concrete floors and installed new carpeting and hardwood floors.

The building is almost ready to be stocked with sofas, chairs, coffee tables and other home furnishings.

About all that is still needed is a new neon sign out front, where Cobern Furniture's used to hang.

Mr. Moxley said he will use his connections through his buying group with Appliance Land to offer the best deals possible on furniture.

"You have to be competitive," he said. "You can't sell something for a dollar more and expect a person to stay your customer."

Mr. Moxley will use the first and second floors for furniture displays and the third floor for storage. Space on the second floor also will be rented to Elduets Treasures of the World, a company that sells imported trinkets.

Though many of the big furniture stores left downtown years ago, Mr. Moxley is confident he and his wife, Gail, who will be running the store, can make the location work.

He said the growing interest in downtown, which includes the move of Mally's Bagels & Grits to Seventh Street and the popularity of First Friday, should bring enough business.

He also plans to use his Martinez appliance store to draw customers by offering them discounts at Furniture Land.

"It's up to the folks who want to make Augusta better to come back to downtown," he said.

"Augusta is a great place to come to now and put a business in, and it will do quite well."

Mr. Moxley bought the building in December for $300,000 from the family of late owner Michael Cohen.

At the time of the purchase, he planned to turn the building into a restaurant but nixed the idea after deciding parking in the area wasn't sufficient to handle a mealtime crowd.

Reach James Gallagher at (706) 823-3227 or james.gallagher@augustachronicle.com.