Maynard’s Home Furnishings
Established in 1947 by Al Maynard, Maynard’s Home Furnishings is in the spotlight as the Belton Alliance business of the quarter.
After serving honorably during World War II, Maynard spent a year learning the furniture trade with Maxwell Brothers Furniture in Rome, Georgia. Then, Maynard brought his young bride (Sadie Rice) back to her hometown and opened a store that has become a well known home furnishings business in the Carolinas and Georgia.
Building on his experience as a route salesman, Al invested his wartime savings and generated additional capital by selling stock in the business to family members. Maynard’s opened in a 4,500 square foot, two-story store with three employees: Al Maynard, John Campbell and a delivery truck driver. The original store was located On the Square in a portion of the North Row, where the Well’s Fargo building stands today.
Due to shortages of new furniture after the war, Maynard started out selling second-hand furniture and appliances, which he and Mr. Campbell refurbished. Much of his business was done on credit. Soon thereafter, better quality furniture was available, and Maynard continued selling discount furniture, but began upgrading to more high-end furniture.
After five years, business had grown and the store was attracting furniture buyers from Anderson and other towns outside Belton. In response, Maynard built a new 10,000 square foot showroom on the Anderson-Belton Highway, in a location many considered to be “in the country” at the time. He moved his business there in 1952 with six employees, including a professional home decorator. Several years later an additional 3,000 square feet was added to the front of the store to display colonial style furniture so popular in the 1950’s and 60’s. The name was changed to Maynard’s Wayside Furniture, and key lines included Pennsylvania House, Ethan Allen, Dixie and Heritage. By the late 1960’s the wayside concept diminished, and the name was changed to Maynard’s of Belton. Over the years several more additions have taken place to bring the total floor space at this location (show room, office and warehouse) to 45,000 square feet.
According to his wife Sadie, Al was a marketing genius. His gimmicks were legendary; he knew if he was to draw in business, he must have a good product to sell, but just as important, he also had to have a way to entice the customers to come in to buy.
The secret to the success of Maynard’s rested in its owner’s personality. “He was always coming up with some big idea to promote business. He never met a stranger and could remember people’s names; he understood the importance of training, and was always abreast of the most current furniture practices; he joined organizations that could support his business such as the Southern and National Home Furnishings Associations, and this helped him make contacts in the business; he was a real charmer and could sell anything; and he was a big promoter,” reminisced Mrs. Maynard in an interview in 2002.
Maynard’s often held special events for customers, including serving refreshments, hosting drawings for gift certificates, offering home furnishings programs for civic clubs and customers, handing out free gifts and even giving out silver dollars hidden in anniversary cake slices. Once, employees even wore costumes from the Colonial Period to promote Ethan Allen, an Early American line of furniture. Maynard believed in advertising, and was one of the first local businesses to use radio and television to promote his furniture, where he started his famous phrase “Hello, nice people,” which the company still uses today.
As business boomed, Maynard enlarged his furniture offerings to stores in Highlands, Piedmont, and Taylors. Today, Maynard’s has multiple locations, the store on Anderson Street in Belton and a second store on I-85 in Piedmont, 10 miles south of Greenville.
With 15 employees and an inventory usually exceeding a million dollars, Maynard’s is poised to increase its patronage in the Carolinas and Georgia. Featured lines include Hooker Furniture, Bradington-Young, King Hickory, Smith Brothers, Winesburg, Universal, La-Z-Boy, Jamison and Flexsteel. Outdoor and wicker furniture is an important part of the company’s business, featuring lines like Woodard, Hanamint, Northcape, Outdoor Interiors and Treasure Garden.
Maynard’s is now run by Al’s family. Rex began working during the summer months growing up, then joined the family business full time in 1969 following graduation from Wofford College. He became store manager in 1972, and has been the company President since 1980. Rex has been very active in the Belton and Anderson communities serving in key roles with the United Way, Lions Club, Belton Tennis Association, Belton Alliance and other civic organizations. Rex remains active in the business, but it is primarily run by his sons Alderman and Blake, who also graduated from Wofford. They continue to keep the family business growing into the third generation, a remarkable feat for small businesses in the US.
With full service decorating staff and financing options, any person can walk through the doors and find just the piece that will enhance their living spaces.
Go check out Maynard’s Home Furnishings today! You’ll definitely be greeted with “Hello, nice people.”