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From Home Furnishing Business

A Happy Ending

By Sheila Long O’Mara

During this holiday season of peace, joy and thankfulness, I’ve been fortunate enough to stumble upon one of the most incredible journeys into the furniture business that I’ve come across in some time. Here in Columbia, S.C., no less; right under my nose.

It’s the perfect backbone for a book. There’s strife. There’s true love. There’s crime, and there’s a good bit of struggle.

Also, woven through the story are elements of human nature that make us all warm and fuzzy inside when they are revealed. Kindness; generosity; faith; courage and good ol’ fashioned hard work and tenacity.

And, for us, it has furniture and retail and success. Darby Hiott is the owner and founder of Beds & Such in West Columbia, S.C., a one-store operation that in the last two years has taken hold in a market filled with interior design studios, big box retailers and a few independent home furnishings retailers.

Darby opened the store in 2011 shortly after marrying his wife and partner Lori. Typically, the opening a small, family-owned furniture isn’t the thing great books are based on, but Darby’s journey along the way to Beds & Such is just shy of remarkable. Prior to the store and before meeting his wife, Darby had fallen on tough times. He’d had some experience in the business when he worked at a large furniture store here in town. Times got hard, and Darby was out of work, out of money, out of food and out of his home.

More times than not, Darby found food from fastfood dumpsters. He wore holes in the only pair of shoes he owned. He was pretty much down and out, but he’ll tell you his faith helped him pull himself back up. He landed a job at a local furniture store—the store where he happened to meet his now wife, who just happened to be shopping for a big girl bed for her daughter. Fate; kismet; destiny. The two were meant to be together. Misfortune struck again on the couple’s wedding day when Darby lost his job at that store. Through much consideration, prayer and support from his new mother-in-law, Darby and his new bride put together a plan. A plan to create a family-owned furniture store.

Today, that plan has come to fruition. The work, the effort, the passion—all have come together in Beds & Such. The Hiotts work in tandem with one another and their team of employees to help customers furnish homes throughout the Midlands of South Carolina. A wonderful twist of fortune. The man who was once homeless is now helping people furnish their homes.

Now that is a happy ending.

Here’s wishing all a peaceful and bright holiday season filled with an abundance of love. I look forward to the year ahead and I’m excited about what 2014 holds for the home furnishings industry.

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