Wieser and Cawley Furniture traces its history back to 1886 when George Wieser opened a small furniture and undertaking business on Front Street in Marietta. Undertaking was a common "sideline" in small communities at that time, according to Dan Cawley, Jr., whose family now operates the furniture store at 1301 Colegate Drive.
In 1906 Wieser and Dan Cawley, Dan Jr.'s grandfather, formed the Wieser and Cawley Furniture Store.
"They moved into a new building at 212 and 214 Putnam St., opposite the courthouse," Dan Jr. said. "They showed furniture on the first, third and fourth floors, while the funeral chapel was on the second floor."
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
The Wieser and Cawley Furniture Store at 1301 Colegate Drive has been in business for more than a century in Marietta.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Every room in the Wieser and Cawley Furniture Store has a different design concept, from bedrooms to living rooms. Shown in one of the store’s settings are, from left, co-owner Janie Cawley Wittekind and sister-in-law Sandy Cawley, and design consultant Rachel Dick.
In the 1930s, due to the Great Depression, the furniture store had to be liquidated and Wieser retired.
Dan Cawley's health began to decline and his son, Dan Cawley, Sr., took over the business, moving the funeral home to 817 Third St. where he once again opened the furniture business in a barn located at the back of the funeral home lot.
Dan Jr. had joined the business in the 1950s and helped his father build a 6,000-square-foot expansion of the furniture store and funeral home on the Third Street lot.
1886-George Wieser opens furniture store and undertaking business on Front Street in Marietta.
1906-Wieser partners with Dan Cawley, forming Wieser and Cawley Furniture on Putnam Street.
1930s-Wieser retires and furniture store had to liquidate due to Great Depression.
1940s-Dan Cawley's son, Dan Sr., re-starts the furniture business at 817 Third St.
1950s-Dan Cawley, Sr. and son Dan Jr. expand Third Street store and funeral home by 6,000 sq. ft.
1967-Wieser and Cawley Funeral Home moved to 408 Front St., now Cawley and Peoples Funeral Home.
1969-Wieser and Cawley Furniture moved to present location at 1301 Colegate Drive.
In 1967 the Wieser and Cawley Funeral Home had moved to 408 Front St., now known as Cawley and Peoples Funeral Home after the facility was purchased by Bill and Pat Peoples.
The Wieser and Cawley Furniture Store relocated to its present location at 1301 Colegate Drive in 1969, where the business features more than 30,000 square feet of furniture, carpeting, bedding and accessories.
Janie Cawley Wittekind, youngest daughter of Dan Cawley Sr., is now part owner of the furniture store, along with siblings Dan Jr., Betsey Cawley Thrift and James Cawley. They're the fourth generation of Cawleys who have operated the business. Wittekind answered some questions recently about the business.
Question: Why do you think Wieser and Cawley has had such a long history in Marietta?
Answer: We're a well-established local business that's always offered a fair price for our products. My dad always said "quality costs less at Wieser and Cawley." And good customer relations has played a large part, too. The company has always been fair to its customers. My dad made sure they were well taken care of.
Q: How has the business changed over the years?
A: The furniture industry has changed, but we've always been able to keep up. We're more of a custom-made furniture company now. Over half of our business is special order. But we still offer prices that fit anyone's budget. We also provide free in-store design services, and customers can make appointments for in-home consulting. And we're online with a web page at wieserandcawley.com and on Facebook.
Q: Have there been other changes?
A: We used to require a large warehouse to store a lot of the furniture we sell, but now furniture manufacturers ship individual orders direct to our location, which saves us a lot of overhead costs. But we also require fewer employees. In the 1970s and 80s there were 42 people working here. Now we have 17, but our employees, past and present are our biggest strength. We don't have a lot of turnover. Many have retired with 30 or 40 years in the business.
Q: Any plans for the future?
A: We've been doing this for four generations now, and we plan on being here for many more years.
Sam Shawver conducted this interview.