Address: 2271 Old Covington Hwy SW, Conyers
The Sigman-Mills Furniture Company has been a cornerstone of Conyers community for nearly six decades and has seen the furniture business and the community go through many changes since the store began in 1951.
Owner Randy Mills, who also happens to be Conyers’ mayor, said both he and his wife Carol, had the furniture business in their background but didn’t realize it when they met in college in South Carolina. Her father owned Sigman Furniture in Conyers and his uncle was in the furniture business for 50 years.
The couple bought the company from Carol’s father in 1980, who was ready to retire from the furniture business by then, and developed a master plan to enable the company to compete with larger stores.
Over the last 30 years, the store has expanded six times to its present day 48,000 square foot showroom and 23,000 square foot warehouse. "What we are doing here is trying to carry the largest selection, on this side of Atlanta. We compete with everyone," said Mills. "We have basic product from bottom to the top."
He described some of the ways the business has changed over the years. Furniture used to come mostly from North Carolina, Indiana, Ohio. "Today we’re buying worldwide, literally," said Mills. "We’re buying from Vietnam, China, Malaysia…That’s been one of the most disappointing changes during my time here. Manufacturing has moved off shore."
In order to compete against the majors and leverage more buying power, Sigman-Mills partnered with 10 other dealers in Georgia to form the Southern Home Furniture Group.
Shoppers are more comfortable buying things online, and the store is revamping its website to offer an interactive experience, such as a being able to design a room on the Web site. The new Web site is scheduled to go online by April 1.
Other special promotions include the annual 50 percent sale off leather products, and the store is currently offering a "tax break" special, where the price of the sales tax is taken off the price.
While it’s adapted and grown to meet the changing market, Sigman-Mills still has a traditional focus on customer service.
Mills quoted a saying, "There’s only one boss, and that’s the customer. They can fire everyone from the chairman of the board to the lowly delivery guy."
"We’re truly a family business," said Mills. "Everything from my daughter helping to decorate our youth gallery upstairs to my son working on the IT and computer system." Co-owner and wife Carol developed an accessories division, Laurel Hill, which now accounts for 15 percent of the sales.
Mills also praised the 14 employees of Sigman-Mills, including general manager Tammy Bittenger. "I strongly believe in surrounding myself with good people," said Mills.