Summer Classics reinventing the Moore-Handley building

Caleb Davis and Summer Classics CEO, Bew White examined furniture in the warehouse of the nearly 500,000 square foot structure that will be the new Summer Classics headquarters. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

Caleb Davis and Summer Classics CEO, Bew White examined furniture in the warehouse of the nearly 500,000 square foot structure that will be the new Summer Classics headquarters. (Reporter Photo / Jon Goering)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—After 15 years at 111 Hinds Street, Summer Classics will have a new home in the Moore-Handley building on Pelham Parkway. The furniture giant, founded by Auburn graduate Bew White III, purchased the former Moore-Handley tools building, and pending a building license, will complete construction on the space by Christmas, said White.

As of now, plans have been drawn up and the front of the building has been repainted.

“It looked like a prison,” said White of building’s former state, adding he plans to completely transform the structure’s appearance with new windows and plantings.

The Pelham Parkway location will become the headquarters for Summer Classics, as well as the company’s two other brands, Gabby and Parker James. With nearly 500,000 square feet of space, the building will house the company’s cushion production facility, have a showroom, warehouses, eight conference rooms, 84 offices and employ around 200 people.

Even with all of the space the Pelham Parkway location has to offer, White worried they “might run out of space.” The company is expecting 400 truckloads of furniture to be delivered to the location, he said.

Summer Classics furniture started out as an umbrella base manufacturing company, creating bases that matched the color of the umbrella. The company also invented the free-standing umbrella. Over time, the company transitioned from outdoor umbrellas to outdoor furniture.

“I didn’t like what anyone else had,” said White. “I thought, I wonder if anyone would like what I like.”

Summer Classics specializes in creating synthetic materials that mirror natural wood, rope and cloth, resulting in furniture that can withstand outdoor conditions without weathering.

“We spend a lot of time working on quality,” said White. “Most people will walk through our store and ask, ‘Where’s your outdoor furniture?’ Well, you’re looking at it.”

Today, Summer Classics manufacturers furniture for private homes, restaurants, country clubs and hotels such as the Hilton in St. Kitts and the Omni in Hawaii. It has locations in nine states and authorized retailers in all 50 states, and the entire operation will be anchored in Pelham.