ONTARIO – Through the Great Depression, a world war and recessions, someone from the McCready family has been selling furniture in Richland County.

W.G. McCready started the family legacy in 1924 with a store on the downtown square in Mansfield, the current location of the local chapter of the American Red Cross.

McCready moved his business to Lexington, then to Lucas, where it stayed for many years. Many people also recall McCready & Sons on West Fourth Street.

Since 1996, McCready Interiors/Norwalk Furniture has been at 784 N. Lexington-Springmill Road.

“Perseverance,” Tom McCready said when asked how the business has survived for 93 years.

Tom is the grandson and third generation of the family to run the furniture store. He and wife Julie are co-owners.

Any business has to adapt or die out.

“We’ve had to reinvent ourselves a couple of times along the way,” Tom said. “We’re more into the design aspect (now).”

The McCreadys have always had a close relationship with Norwalk Furniture, which supplies about 80 percent of the current store’s furniture. Norwalk Furniture has been around even longer than the McCreadys, since 1902.

McCready Interiors specializes in personalized residential and commercial design, including unique accessories and American-made upholstered furniture.

A personal touch is part of the store’s approach. When people bought lamps, W.G. McCready gave them light bulbs.

That practice is still in place under Tom and Julie.

Julie also credits the store’s success to its staff. The McCreadys oversee eight employees. The service manager has been with them for 20 years, while three designers have worked there between 16 and 18 years.

“We’ve been blessed that way,” Tom said of employee loyalty.

Julie left her job teaching for the Lexington district in 1996 to become a sales manager. She now specializes in design. Some of Julie’s projects have been the Ritter House (home of Richland County Foundation) and Bankz Salon.

“A lot of people think we just sell sofas,” Julie said.

That’s part of the business, too.

“We offer affordable furniture for all age groups and lifestyles,” Julie said.

Tom emphasizes the quality of the store’s merchandise.

“People want quality, but they don’t understand a lot about what quality is,” he said. “With quality, you only pay for it once. It just won’t wear out.”

McCready Interiors has customers from about a 50-mile radius and relies on word of mouth.

Tom and Julie say they are thrilled to be on North Lexington-Springmill Road in the heart of Ontario’s retail district.

“We didn’t go far (from West Fourth Street),” Tom said. “Our location drives a lot of our business.”

Tom and Julie originally opened Norwalk the Furniture Idea at the current location in 1996, then brought the McCready name back to the building in 2008.

They have no plans of stopping anytime soon.

“We’re looking to celebrate 100 years (in 2024),” Julie said.

mcaudill@gannett.com

419-521-7219

Twitter: @MNJCaudill