Bobby Bowdon Furniture Building to be demolished in Calera

Published 10:30 am Monday, January 8, 2024

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

CALERA – The city of Calera announced that the Bobby Bowdon Furniture Building will be demolished in a process that is set to begin on Monday, Jan. 8.

To allow city crews unimpeded access to the area, the alleyway that also runs behind the neighboring Mapco gas station between 18th Avenue and 17th Avenue will be closed until further notice.

“The demolition of the Bobby Bowdon Furniture Building is all part of the development plan for the Calera Courtyard,” said Jackie Batson, executive director of Calera Main Street. “The particular spot where the building sits will become a parking area that will accompany the second phase of the courtyard project.”

Bowdon’s Discount Furniture Store had been a staple business for the city of Calera for decades at the time of its closure.

Its founder and owner, Bobby Bowdon was a life-long Calera native having only left for school and military service. Prior to opening the local furniture store, Bowdon worked closely with his father at the family car dealership and economy store.

Bowdon’s Discount Furniture first opened its doors in 1960 and served the residents of Calera for decades. Bowdon, and his business, became a household name and over the decades Bowdon himself became a local icon known for his generosity and community involvement.

After over half a century of active involvement, Bowdon began to step back from his business beginning in 2013 due to health issues, before his death on Christmas Day in 2014 at the age of 80.

In the years following Bowdon’s death, the business would close and its location would eventually go to sit empty and unutilized.

While news of the demolition drew multiple comments on social media lamenting the building’s planned future and the seeing of a historical icon in the city go away, many welcomed the coming change citing the current state of the lot and the progress it represents for the future of Calera.

The site is the next area of the downtown Calera area that will be involved in the ongoing redevelopment efforts that truly began last year. The Bobby Bowden Furniture Building’s location is adjacent to the ongoing construction efforts for phase 1 of the Calera Courtyard project.