T & D Furniture
by Susan Marquez
Tammy Armstrong knows just about all there is to know about running a furniture store. She’s practically grown up in her parents’ store, T & D Furniture, in Pearl. “My dad, Tom Karnes, started the store thirty years ago, after he retired from managing K-Mart for 26 years,” Tammy says. “He just can’t sit still, and the next thing we knew, he was opening a furniture store. It was a big surprise to all of us, because he didn’t know a thing about the furniture business!” Tammy’s mother, Diannia (the “D” in T & D Furniture), worked alongside Tom for many years, helping to make the store a long-time business in the Rankin County landscape.
“Mom’s retired now, but Dad is still working at the store,” says Tammy, who has been working at the store for 30 years. “The store opened in March 1990 and I started working here in June of that year. They somehow made it work without me for the first couple of months!” Tammy is the only one of the Karnes’ three children who works at the store, although she says the other two have worked there at one time or another over the years.
T & D Furniture first did business from a location on Bierdeman Road. “It wasn’t even 5,000 square feet,” Tammy recalls. “We knocked out walls and expanded until we couldn’t expand any further.” Tom decided to build a freestanding building on Pearson Road in Pearl. “We have been in this location for 25 years,” says Tammy.
Tammy says the secret to the company’s success is their focus on great value and superior customer service. “T & D Furniture is a warehouse-type showroom. We don’t have fancy displays, so our customers have to use their imagination. We strive to keep our prices low and provide a good value to our customers. It’s not unusual to find a better price on something at our store than any other store in the area.” Because of that, T & D has a loyal following of customers. “Many of our customers are repeat customers, because they like the value they find in our store. We carry known and trusted brands at a price they can’t find anywhere else. I love it when folks come into the store for the first time and they are so surprised to see how low are prices are compared to other stores they’ve shopped. They can’t believe how much more they can get for their money.”
In addition to the great prices customers find at T & D Furniture, they are treated well throughout the process of buying furniture. “My dad has instilled to us to treat others the way you want to be treated. That’s how we approach customer service in our store.”
Tammy is proud of the business her parents have built, and she’s proud to be a part of it. “My dad has worked so hard to keep it going. At nearly 80, he will still unload trucks if that’s what’s needed to get the furniture out on the showroom floor.” Tammy admits that her dad is “real old school” in many ways, only bringing computers into the business a few years ago. “We’ve recently added a general manager and a sales manager, who have really done a lot to bring us up to date. They have been wonderful for the store, and are even featured in our commercials.”
Tammy has done a little of everything in the store over the years, but her main role now is handling the accounting, payroll and taxes. “I’ve loved working in the store my parents have built, and to be an important part of this community. We look forward to many successful years to come!”