Longtime family business to close

Photo by Michael Kelly Customer Janet Cranston talks to Jeremy Wittekind, Sandy Cawley and Dan Binegar in one of the showrooms at Wieser and Cawley Fine Living Furniture on Colgate Drive on Tuesday afternoon. The high-end furniture store will close at the end of the week after more than 130 years in business.

A long-time, family owned store specializing in high-end furniture and home decor in Marietta will close at the end of this week.

Wieser and Cawley, a traditional furniture store with several showrooms on 25,000 square feet of floor space on Colegate Drive, traces its origins back to 1886 and has had four generations of family management.

Although the business has been affected by changing trends in the furniture market – online purchasing with free or low cost delivery – Sandy Cawley said Tuesday the store is being wound up primarily because there is no one in the next generation of the families to take control of it.

“They’ve all gone into their own career fields, and there’s just not another generation that wants to do it,” she said.

At its zenith in the 1990s, the business specialized in custom high-quality furnishings, employed 42 people and had a 65,000-square-foot operation. The flooring division alone had 10 carpet installers. The company offered interior design consulting. During the mid- 20th century, the business was a combination furniture store and funeral home. Cawley explained that the common area in the two fields was cabinet-making, for furniture and for caskets. The funeral side of the business was bought by Bill Peoples, but kept the Cawley name as Cawley and Peoples Funeral Home.

The store is offering a final clearance sale for the next two weeks. On Tuesday afternoon, Janet Cranston was looking for accessories and lamps.

“It’s sad that it’s closing, it’s an institution,” she said. “We’re losing a fine store, the last fine furniture store in Marietta.”

Sandy Cawley said the store always has kept up with trends in home furnishing and design while keeping traditional lines its regular customers prefer.

“We served people who wanted quality, something that will last,” store manager Janie Cawley said.

“We’ve given quality and service, generation after generation,” Sandy Cawley said. “The majority of our business is still special orders. And we’ve always given back to the community, to schools and organizations.”

Sandy Cawley said once the business is wound up, the store building on Colegate will be offered for sale or lease.

“We’re going to miss the people, our loyal customers. A lot of them became our friends,” she said.

Wieser and Cawley

• Established in 1886 by George Wieser on Front Street.

• Partnered with Dan Cawley in 1906 and moved into a shop on Putnam Street.

• Business was liquidated during the Depression.

• Re-opened by Dan Cawley’s son in the 1940s on Third Street.

• Moved to Colgate Drive location in 1969.

Source: Times research.