MOUNTAIN LAKE PARK — Since 1947, the Fitzwater family has been serving the Garrett County community by providing quality, affordable furniture. First selling out of his living room, on borrowed money, Edward Fitzwater decided it was something the area needed. They celebrate 70 years in the business this year.
There were no furniture or appliance stores in Garrett County, and many people had deprived themselves of home goods during World War II. Manufacturers were just ramping up production of domestic products, and a lot of what was available were used or slightly damaged goods. Fitzwater would travel to Baltimore Friday nights, haul the goods to his home in Deer Park, and then he and his wife Bonnie would sell over the weekend to pay back the money he had borrowed. They started again every Friday. It wasn’t until 1953 that the family opened their first commercial store.
“My family started with less than nothing,” said Edward’s son, Gary Fitzwater, current owner. “When you have nothing, you have nothing to lose. A lot of family businesses began after World War II. They were often filling a void in the community.”
As time went on, the quality of the furniture pieces grew, as well as the business. The Fitzwaters purchased 260 acres from the military in the early 1960s and built their first an current showroom along Maryland Highway in 1967.
Gary grew up working with his father, and by age 8 was unpacking crates, hauling trash and assembling furniture. He worked in the store in some capacity all through high school and college and took over the reins in the early 1990s, when his father died. Since then, Gary and wife Jeanette have worked to build Fitzwatwer Furniture into the area’s largest furniture showroom featuring beautiful furniture and home décor.
With over 20,000 square feet of retail space, the store carries a variety of styles from country and rustic to traditional, from casual and contemporary to classic. They have over 2,000 items in stock for immediate delivery or pieces may be custom-ordered. The family prides itself on providing quality furniture at fair prices.
“It’s important to invest in good quality pieces,” said Gary. “They’ll hold up better, age well and give you the best value for your money.”
Fitzwater Furniture also offers a large selection of lighting (both pendent and task lighting), bedding, area rugs, wall art and accessories. The showroom is intended to display complete groupings to show customers the latest decorating designs and ideas. The staff also works closely with interior designer Ellen Housley for those looking for an “extra special touch.”
Among the most important decisions one may make at Fitzwaters is the kind of mattress to select. They proudly offer products by Kingston, one of the industry’s most respected mattress manufacturers.
“Your body changes every eight years because of aging,” said Gary. “It’s important to keep upgrading your mattress so you’ll get the best possible night’s sleep.”
Fitzwater’s works with over 50 different vendors to provide the largest selection possible for customers to find the perfect furniture and accessories to update any look, redecorate an entire room and even an entire house. The staff is very knowledgeable about the brands they offer.
Fitzwater Furniture is open Mondays through Saturdays from 10 am. to 5 p.m. and Sundays by appointment. A special 70th anniversary sale will be held this month, as well as the July 13th Business After Hours event sponsored by the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.
“This is a great chance to mingle with area business owners and leaders to see their amazing selection of furniture for yourself,” said a pleased customer. “For big city selection with small town, personal service, visit Fitzwater Funirutre.”