NEW ALBANY – Sleeping and eating are perhaps the most essential functions of human life, and Travis Wiseman has 30 years of experience providing customers with products that make those tasks more enjoyable.
“People probably buy more houses and cars than mattresses,” said Wiseman, owner of Union Appliance and Furniture, in downtown New Albany.
“We make sure they get one that suits them, and will last.”
Wiseman sat amid a fleet of shiny, pearl-white and stainless-steel refrigerators, flanked by long rows of inviting, cloud-fluffy mattresses, along with freezers, washers and dryers, sofas, and all sorts of home furnishings, including a few televisions.
“I’ve been involved in the business since before I got my driver’s license,” said Wiseman, as he remembered once persuading a long-time employee, Junior Mayo, to let him drive the delivery truck.
The episode ended with Mayo sustaining an injury, Wiseman said, with a bit of good-natured reluctance.
Wiseman’s father, Billy, opened Union Appliance in 1972, and moved the store to its current location, at 101 W. Main St., four years later.
“I’d say my father developed a finely-oiled machine,” said Wiseman, who earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting at Ole Miss, then returned to work for his father, and eventually purchased the business in 2012.
“Even through the technology age, we continue to do many things the old-fashioned way, like counting inventory and writing payment receipts by hand,” said Wiseman.
Stellar customer service, hard work, and carrying a few, reliable brands were the principles upon which Billy Wiseman built his reputation, Travis said, and he has continued that legacy.
Simmons, Jameson, and Serta compose most of Wiseman’s mattress selection. GE and Whirlpool, including its Maytag line, supply most of the appliances. Ashley and Lane are Wiseman’s trusted favorites for furniture, along with selections from smaller manufacturers, like chairs from Best Home Furnishings, as well as home décor from Crestview, Texas-based Largo, and HomeStretch, in Nettleton.
“Maintaining a close, working relationship with a few vendors means they’re more attentive to our needs, and we extend that personal care to our customers,” Wiseman said.
“Whether it’s a high-efficiency appliance, or a particular mattress, like the Certa Perfect Sleeper, we want to share every piece of information and expertise we have with customers to help them make a choice they’ll be happy with,” said Wiseman.
Delivery and, especially, in-house financing, are rare conveniences in today’s appliance and home furnishings market, and Union Appliance gladly offers both, Wiseman said.
“I train all our delivery personnel to do things the right way,” said Wiseman. “Sometimes, we may have to play musical mattresses, moving one mattress to another bed, in another room, to make room for the new one. We’re glad to accommodate customer’s needs.”
Steve Gibson came in to make a payment on a recent purchase, and smiled and thanked Wicker as he turned to go.
“They have great products here, and the best service, and that keeps me and plenty of other folks coming back,” said Gibson.
“I pretty much take Travis and Miss Lisa’s word on what to buy,” Gibson said, laughing. “They know what they’re talking about.”
Union Appliance and Furniture is open 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m., Mon. – Fri., and 9 a.m. -2 p.m. Sat.
Also visit the store’s Facebook page.