Posted on December 2, 2011
Schewels is headquartered in Lynchburg, Virginia, the central Virginia community where Elias Schewel began the business in 1897 selling picture frames, chair bottoms, and other small furniture items from a horse-drawn wagon. The first permanent location was just a block from the building which now houses Schewels corporate offices as well as the company’s oldest retail store.
Schewels was incorporated in 1917. Schewels operated out of a single location for over 30 years, opening its second store in 1930 in Harrisonburg, VA. Growth was conservative for the next 75 years, with 12 stores comprising the chain in 1972. Beginning about that time and continuing into the present, growth became more aggressive, with almost three dozen new locations opening from 1990 until 2001.
Schewels is one of only four furniture retailers in the United States with 100 years of continuous operation under the same name and family management.
Elias Schewel was succeeded by his three sons Abe, Ben, and Ike, who were in turn succeeded by Bert Schewel (Ben’s son) and Elliot Schewel (Abe’s son.) The fourth generation and present management team includes Marc and Jack Schewel, and Donna Schewel Clark, children of Bert Schewel. Some 90 percent of the 650 people now employed by Schewels serve customers at the store level, with the remainder in support roles at corporate headquarters or at the company’s distribution center in Lynchburg.
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