The Gathering Place: Farm Tables & Furniture, Inc. is a place for custom furniture.
When looking for the perfect location for a furniture store in 2015, Gerry Moore and her husband, Steve Moore, chose Calabash. Steve was battling cancer at time, but he wanted Gerry to establish a business that she could run with her nephew, Matt Moore, for years to come.
Gerry and Steve, who were high school sweethearts, were married for 36 years. Steve’s vision for designing furniture with reclaimed wood and his goal of having Gerry be a store owner are part of his lasting legacy. The Moores decided to purchase Morgan’s Body Shop in the fall of 2015. The auto body business had been closed for eight years, but the owner sold them the property and they fixed up the space. Steve passed away in December 2015. Just a month later, in January 2016, Gerry opened The Gathering Place: Farm Tables & Furniture, Inc.
“Before Steve’s death we’d talked about the store’s name, and we liked the idea of people gathering around their kitchen and dining room tables to relax and chat with each other over meals about the day’s events,” she says.
Gerry is the sole owner of The Gathering Place: Farm Tables & Furniture, and Matt came on board as the store’s designer and production manager. The 7,500-square-foot store has three sections: the showroom, the woodworking shop and the painting and finishing area.
Gerry and Matt pride themselves on using reclaimed wood for the furniture they make at The Gathering Place.
“Four times a year we get deliveries of reclaimed wood from the Finger Lakes region of New York State,” Gerry says. “Salvaged wood from barns, old houses, churches, sheds, silos and warehouses is ideal.”
The vintage, reclaimed wood is mostly eastern white pine, hemlock, oak and chestnut. Occasionally they use maple, cherry, walnut and river cypress. Each piece of wood is special because of its unique, identifiable marks and wear.
Gerry does most of the painting, orders the decorative items and John Thomas Furniture and does the bookkeeping and advertising. Matt and another full-time employee, Efren, build the tables and other pieces of furniture. Part-timer Sue assists in the showroom.
Matt notes that they have a large demand for custom-made pieces.
“Eighty percent of our customers come here with a picture in their minds of what they want the finished product to look like,” he says. “We work closely with them to make their dreams come true.”
The store sells large and small pieces of furniture plus artwork and unique gifts as well. Matt estimates the other 20 percent of their customers are locals or vacationers shopping for smaller pieces of furniture and home-decorating items.”
An upstate New York native, Gerry was used to the area’s cold winters, but in 1996 she and Steve moved to North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, for its warmer climate and more reasonable taxes.
“My late husband has a sister who lives in Myrtle Beach, so we’d vacationed in the area for many years and liked it,” Gerry says. “Also, Steve and I ran a custom kitchen cabinet business in Calabash for 10 years but shifted gears in order to focus more specifically on furniture.”
Now a Myrtle Beach resident, Gerry has two sons and two granddaughters. On her days off she helps with her granddaughters, who live with her and her son. She has an Eskipoo dog, a combination American Eskimo dog and Poodle named Loki, who likes going for long walks.
Matt, also an upstate New York native, moved to Carolina Shores in 2011. He has an associate’s degree in architectural engineering from the New England Institute of Technology.
“As a boy I got a lot of carpentry and woodworking pointers from watching my father work on home projects,” he says. “He wouldn’t let me use the equipment, but I watched closely to see how furniture was assembled. Then I taught myself to use power tools.”
For custom furniture orders, Matt does much of the customer service. He says today people want unique pieces that are functional and stand out design-wise. “They want the woodwork to be aesthetically pleasing,” Matt says.
For example, he recently built what looked like a cabinet for a condo, but when you open the piece it becomes a spacious table for meals. After eating, the couple folds it back up and that gives them more room in their combination living room/dining room. Another interesting piece was a pop-up TV stand with an electronic mechanism to raise and lower the TV. Coffee tables, cabinets and banquettes are very popular, and so is furniture for mudrooms, including benches and coat racks.
Large, wooden tables are in style, and Matt says they seal the wood on their furniture with a finish that’s low sheen. “It’s a high-quality finish that’s water resistant, so people don’t have to worry about the glasses leaving water rings on their wooden tables,” Matt says.
Gerry and Matt see trends in terms of what people want in furniture and home decor.
“In 2005 and 2006 all shades of red were in,” Matt says. “Now people like grays and antique white. Monochromatic design is also popular, so their couches, carpeting and drapes or curtains all may be white, for example.”
In his off-time Matt likes playing his guitar, walking along the beach and spending time relaxing at home with his two rescue animals, Chili, who’s a mellow mutt, and Keevo, a black and white tuxedo cat. He rescued Chili and Keevo from a Tennessee animal shelter and made Brunswick County their home 10 years ago.
Gerry and Matt have a motto at The Gathering Place: “From custom furniture to small decor items, we’re here to create items you’ll cherish for a lifetime.”
Want to go?
The Gathering Place: Farm Tables & Furniture, Inc.
9501 Ocean Highway W., Calabash (across from Southwest Brunswick Branch Public Library)