AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – More than likely you probably own or know somebody who owns a piece of furniture that came from Weinberger’s. The business has been operating in Augusta for nearly 90 years. Right now, they are feeling the pinch of coronavirus.
“I don’t remember us ever closing other than maybe a couple of snow days or something like that, but nothing like this,” said owner Mark Weinberger.
Michele LaMarsh who’s in sales design said, “People are coming in just to get out of the house. And what’s kind of fun last week, a couple came in and said, ‘We just drove by and saw you were open. We’ve never been in here. We’re just excited we have somewhere to go'”
Weinberger stores are open for limited hours but are hurting during this health crisis. The company will receive financial relief from coronavirus related small business loans.
Stores are operating under the state COVID-19 guidelines. No employees have been furloughed, some are working from home, and none have tested positive for coronavirus.
Weinberger explained, “We don’t have any issues with having too many people in. We won’t let that happen if it did. Our people don’t huddle up and talk. They stay apart.”
“I’ve been here at this store for about five years. I was at the other store for 16 and a half years. Retired for four. Unretired and then came over here so it’s where I’ve really been. And I really enjoy it,” said LaMarsh.
Weinberger added, “Had a lot of phone calls and a lot of people call us making sure we’re doing okay so we really do appreciate that.”
While business is slow, people are still closing on houses in the CSRA- which helps with furniture sales, either in the showroom or online.
“We’re just so used to pick up a phone, you call the companies. You call your rep, you call this person, and right now, people are just apprehensive. And once they know we’re open Thursday, Friday, Saturday, they are coming in and they are buying. And that’s the good part and you just have to keep your distance. It’s all something new for us to learn,” said LaMarsh.
Weinberger said, “The Great Recession, if you will, lasted a long time and I don’t know if this is going to last that long. Personally, I think people are going to come back out and shop pretty quickly.”
Weinberger and employees are hopeful. After all, his family’s legacy store has seen a lot in its 88 years.
“That goes back to the people that we have. We have one gentleman who’s been working here for 55 years and he works over at the outlet store part-time. Everybody in Augusta knows Walker and we’ve got a lot of people who’ve been here for 20 years or more. And that’s really I think is our success,” said Weinberger.