HEMPFIELD TOWNSHIP – A long-vacant building has come out of hibernation.

Mike Moss transformed an empty Hempfield Township building into his newest furniture store – Bear’s Furniture and Mattress.

“There was no heating, air conditioning or sprinkler system,’’ Moss said of the building. “It took seven months of hard work.’’

Located in Greenville Plaza, Moss said the building once housed a supermarket – 25 years ago.

“I kept looking at it and knew that somebody needed to do something with the building,’’ he said. “Since nobody did I took it on.’’

Celebrating the store’s grand opening on earlier this month, Moss showcased its furniture lines that includes La-Z-Boy, Flexsteel, and Simmons Beauty Rest. Bear’s Furniture and Mattress Outlet, a separate store in the plaza, will continue operating and offer entry level furniture for those starting out on their own, Moss said.

Outside the new store’s entrance visitors are greeted with patio furniture. A roof was purposely constructed over the furniture.

“We want to show people what the furniture would look like on their own porch,’’ he said.

Moss isn’t a stranger to the area. His great-grandfather, along with other partners, opened a furniture store in downtown Greenville in the 1880s. The store eventually became N.N. Moss Furniture, which was owned by the Moss family for generations. The store remained a fixture in Greenville until Mike’s brother, Richard, closed it about a dozen years ago.

Mike bought the Bear’s family retail operations about 20 years ago. He also operates Bear’s Mattress 1st Meadville and Bear’s Mattress 1st Cranberry with both located in Crawford County.

Features at the new store includes fireplaces that might be found in homes and a coffee bar for customers. An Amish-made line of furniture is offered and tags on items are bar-coded for sales staff to quickly scan to determine inventory availability.

“We’re getting people from Erie and Pittsburgh stopping in to shop,’’ Moss said.

In greeting customers on during the recent grand opening, even he was surprised when Lynn (Chason) Hartman and her husband Jeff told them they lived in North Carolina.

“We come every year here to visit my family,’’ said Lynn, who grew up in the area.

The couple bought a small night stand so it can easily fit in their car on their drive back home.

“It’s exciting to see a new business,’’ Lynn said.

ONLINE: bearsfurniture.com

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