Summer Classics celebrates opening of new Pelham facility

Summer Classics employees and visitors join Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce representatives at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the company's new location off U.S. 31 in Pelham. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

Summer Classics employees and visitors join Greater Shelby County Chamber of Commerce representatives at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the company’s new location off U.S. 31 in Pelham. (Reporter Photo/Neal Wagner)

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

PELHAM – As Summer Classics owner and President Bew White strolled past thousands of boxes stacked in the back of the company’s new location off U.S. 31 in Pelham, he paused to reflect on how quickly his company is growing.

“We haven’t even moved everything yet. All we did was stop taking shipments at our old location (off Hinds Street in Pelham),” White said on April 14 about an hour before a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new location. “We’ve already outgrown it. Isn’t that something?”

Summer Classics specializes in high-end indoor and outdoor furniture, and manufacturers furniture for private homes, restaurants, country clubs and hotels such as the Hilton in St. Kitts and the Omni in Hawaii. The company, which is headquartered in Pelham, has locations in nine states and authorized retailers in all 50 states.

The massive building on U.S. 31 served as the headquarters for the Moore Handley tools company for decades before the company shut its doors several years ago.

The more-than-500,000-square-foot building sat vacant for years before Pelham, Shelby County and Shelby County Industrial Development Authority leaders worked with Summer Classics to bring the company to the building.

What was once an empty, cavernous warehouse is now packed to the brim with furniture awaiting delivery, a cushion-manufacturing area and more. The front of the building features offices for Summer Classics and one of its other brands, Gabby, and features wooden floors throughout, Vietnamese wood-lined walls and restored pane-glass windows.

A 10,000-square-foot showroom displays the company’s indoor and outdoor furniture lines, and even includes subtle nods to the building’s history, such as “M” and “L” bathroom door letters taken from the original Moore Handley sign.

Since officially beginning operations at the U.S. 31 location, the company has had an “amazing” time in the new building, White said.

The move has also helped to support the local workforce.

“I predicted we would employ about 200 people here, and we employed our 200th person the other day,” White said.