Mitchell shares ‘uplook’ on life

Published 6:03 pm Friday, August 19, 2011

By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist

Roy Mitchell, after attending Jefferson State to get his hotel management degree, worked in that field for a few years — until a robbery changed his thinking.

Mitchell then ventured to the fabricating field for 14 years, then began working for a local furniture store.

Rusty Haynes, his brother-in-law, owned a futon specialty store in Northport.

Together, Rusty and Roy decided in 1995 to open “The Futon Store” in the Bruno’s Shopping Center. This was before the Promenade, and business was good.

In 2003, when Mitchell saw the old Farris Department Store building with its display and expansive basement warehouse area, he knew he had found the right location.

That this business (Mitchell bought Haynes out) will be paid for in a few short years is yet another bonus.

Roy Mitchell organizes a stack of Auburn beanbags in his business in Alabaster. (Contributed)

In the basement, there are dozens of mattress sets of all sizes, boxed futon frames and arm sets, end and occasional tables, lamps, flea market finds and more than 100 bean bags in every color or college allegiance. It is truly astonishing to see how much inventory is located downstairs.

The display floor upstairs is filled with dozens upon dozens of futons — metals of different designs and weights, imported woods in cherry, oak or coffee bean finishes in modern, rustic, contemporary and classic styles. The covers might be striped, solid, floral, polka-dot, geometric, kids print or a sports-inspired design. In fact, you can pick your own fabric from the sample charts and special order exactly what you want. Some of the more expensive futons come with Sealy innerspring mattresses. Futons come chair, twin, double and queen sizes. Mattresses and pads can be replaced so that old dorm futon in your basement might make a great seating area in your office.

As a child, Mitchell used to come see relatives in the Siluria area.

Grandmother Ida Cox Mitchell worked at the cotton mill. Larry and Sherry Mitchell, of Mitchell Concrete, are cousins. Back when he visited, Alabaster was just a main street town, and life was much different with its wide open fields, dairies, a cotton mill, the county hospital and one traffic light.

Mitchell, like so many independent business operators, has been hurt by the recession, but he has a positive “uplook” on life. Husband to Teresa Haynes, longtime Ebsco employee, and father of Adam, 26, and twins Marc and Whitney, ages 21, Mitchell loves college football, especially Auburn.

His goal: Live long enough to retire!

He also has a sense of humor. Tell Mitchell what you need. I’ll bet he can help you.

Community columnist Sandra Thames can be reached by email at