PEARL — Miskelly Furniture, in business for 23 years as of Oct. 8, is today the biggest furniture store in the entire southeastern region.
It took few dollars and big dreams for brothers Chip, Oscar and Tommy Miskelly to grow the business from the ground up.
The Miskelly brothers’ father owned a department store in Okolona and raised his sons in the business. But, Chip Miskelly said, “Your dad always wants you to do better than he did.”
The brothers told their father they wanted to go into business, and across the street from their father’s department store was a discount furniture store.
“What he did was jumpstart us,” Chip Miskelly said. “We invited those guys to be partners in our business.”
The owners of the Okolona furniture store took them up on the offer and became partners in the store. They made a small investment in the business and helped the Miskelly brothers to get the very best furniture lines in the industry.
“You don’t just get in the furniture business and start buying top lines,” Chip Miskelly explained. “We were able to have a head start.”
And so Chip and Oscar were in the furniture business. Tommy, the youngest of the three brothers, came into the business eight years later.
Just one year after the Miskellys opened their business they bought their partners’ interest in it out. From that point on, they were on their own.
“We really focused on finding the very best values out there for the consumer,” Chip said.
The Miskellys were also focused on marketing their business better and on getting to know other furniture store owners throughout the U.S. The brothers have tried to take something from each of those businesses and incorporate it into their own.
“We’ve gone around the country and had the opportunity to meet with almost all the best furniture stores in America and see how they do business, how they advertise, merchandise, what’s made them successful,” Chip Miskelly said.
“You always have to think bigger than you are in order to go to the next rung,” Chip Miskelly said. “That’s one of the ways we’ve grown our business — focusing internally on merchandising, marketing and studying how the best marketers in the country get people through the doors. What kinds of incentives do they offer?”
The Miskellys have also studied people like Sam Walton, Wal-Mart’s founder. They have tried to incorporate his idea of passing savings on to the consumer into their furniture business too, and according to Chip Miskelly, they have captured 50% of the business in Jackson by doing so.
Miskelly’s mission is to provide a one-stop shop where customers can see everything they want and be able to shop at one store for all their favorite brands. Other points along the way like delivery and pickup are also ways they have earned their customers’ trust.
“All of those things have to be done very well,” Chip Miskelly said.
In the future, Miskellys, across the street from the Howard Miskelly Furniture Clearance Store, will be adding more square footage to their main location. To be specific, they will be growing the already 290,000-square- foot building by about 40,000 square feet and expanding their categories in the process, adding entertainment and a restaurant.
“We’re going to wow the customer when they come here,” Chip Miskelly said. “We may do everything from shine their shoes to clean the windshield on their car. Our plan is to have a destination shopping store that people will travel 200 miles for.”
The Miskelly brothers would also like to take their concept to at least two other major markets within a three-hour drive of Jackson and service those stores out of their Jackson distribution center.
“I hope the one thing that distinguishes us is that we’re really trying to enhance people’s lifestyles and give them our best efforts in service (and merchandise),” Chip Miskelly said. “Our slogan is ‘our family serving your family with excellence,’ so what we try to do is serve our employees’ and our customers’ families by enhancing their homes and lifestyles.”
Secondly, the Miskellys are reaching out to their community to try to make a difference.
“It’s a business, but you have a greater vision beyond just having a business,” Miskelly said. “That’s the fulfilling part. Everyone wants to be a part of something bigger than themselves. To get as many people as you can to buy into that is exciting. You transcend being just a furniture store. It’s an espirit de corps that is exciting and fun to be a part of.”
Contact MBJ staff writer Elizabeth Kirkland at firstname.lastname@example.org or (601) 364-1042.