Office furniture from McAleer in Mobile and Foley can outfit an office quickly

Office furniture from McAleer in Mobile and Foley can outfit an office quickly
Office furniture from McAleer in Mobile and Foley can outfit an office quickly

Melissa McAleer Cross is president and owner of McAleer’s Office Furniture in Mobile, Pensacola and soon Foley.

Raised in Mobile, Cross is the fourth of seven children born to Jim and Camilla McAleer. She says she had no intention of taking over the business her parents started in 1979.

After completing her undergraduate studies at the University of Alabama, she headed to law school in California, where she practiced for several years. Her career path has taken her to work in real estate, home construction, and office furniture manufacturing, and in states as far flung as Texas and Iowa.

In 2012, with a nudge from an older brother, she answered her father’s call and returned to Alabama as president of the family business.

“My brother, David, who runs the store in Pensacola, was an integral part of bringing dad back,” Cross said. “Dad was asking, and I kept saying, ‘No,’ and then David called and said, ‘You really have to do this.’

“I ended up having the right experience to be exactly the right person to run the stores,” she said. While his father remained the owner, he took a soft retirement in 2015 and Cross remained chairman. Earlier this year, Cross bought the 43-year-old business from his father.

“I didn’t expect it to be any different because I’ve been using it for so long, but immediately it felt different,” she said. “It’s a bigger responsibility, but it’s also a lot more rewarding. As the owner, you are more in charge of your own destiny.

Early this year in Foley, McAleer’s Office Furniture will open its third store with Cross’s younger sister, Sarah McAleer, as manager.

“I love having people I can trust, people I love, who are so invested in the business working with me,” she said.

McAleer’s Office Furniture in Mobile and Pensacola, Fla., has 20 full-time employees and is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. (Brandon Robbins/Alabama Retailer)

All about inventory

“Basically, we’ve always been a retail store that can deliver the next business day,” Cross said of his nearly $1 million retail and contract office furniture business. of inventory in stock, ready for the same day. next day pickup or delivery. Among its three locations, McAleer’s Office Furniture has 75,000 square feet of space.

“People want the furniture of tomorrow. They don’t want to wait six weeks for it,” Jim McAleer said in a 2015 interview when he and Cross received the Alabama Retail Association’s Gold Alabama Retailers of the Year award in the 1-5 million annual sales category. of dollars. By 2021, Cross had grown the business to over $6 million in annual sales and won the Silver title in a larger sales category.

With recent supply chain issues, wait times for furniture have jumped to six months, but not necessarily at McAleer. “We still have a long lead time with some of our specialty furniture under contract, but for the bulk of what we sell, we can literally outfit your office next week with what we have in stock,” Cross said.

“In April 2020, during the strictest period of COVID lockdowns, we closed our doors for two weeks to renovate,” Cross said in a 2021 interview. “We immediately changed our focus on what we were marketing and bought several affordable home office sets that allowed consumers to quickly set up a home office.”

In a more recent interview, Cross said, “We’ve always had residential office furniture, but we’ve definitely increased the amount we have in stock” since the pandemic.

Share the passion

Cross spreads his passion for entrepreneurship, small business and economic development in the Gulf Coast region throughout his community. She serves on the Board of the Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce and chaired its Total Resources Campaign in 2020 and 2021, leading a team that exceeded the campaign goal both years. She is also a member of the advisory board of the Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of South Alabama.

Cross participates in two mentoring programs – Real Advice Mentoring Program (RAMP), developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Innovation Portal, a mobile startup incubator that connects its members with mentors.

Sherry Coker, vice president and head of private banking at River Bank & Trust, said Cross had an “infectious energy” and a “positive personality” that “makes her a force to be reckoned with”.

This story was originally published by the Alabama Retailer.

. Furniture Desk McAleer Mobile Foley Can Equip Desk Quickly

. Office furniture McAleer Mobile Foley outfit office quickly

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