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Man On A Mission...
John & Jerry Laughlin
Man On A Mission...
John Laughlin, Embracing The American Dream

    This is a story that is more about the man, his strong Christian beliefs, his constant dedication to the community and his will to work hard and make it work. This November, he will celebrate his 23rd year in business.
    Indicative of what type person he is can be explained by the people that work with him and for him. Without exception they have been there a long time. As one member of his staff said: "John will do more work than anybody!" The man being referred to is John Laughlin.
    He came to Cleveland County in 1973 from Miami, Florida with his parents, Thurman and Rita, when he was just 17. He finished his last year of high school at Burns. While in school, he got a job and worked part time in the meat department at Ingles on Route 74. At Ingles he worked his way up. He worked in Forest City, Bessemer City, and in Hickory at Ingles Fine Fare Grocery Outlet. While working in Hickory he would go around to the furniture stores on his lunch break. That seemed to plant a seed and predict his future. In 1979, he left Ingles and went to work at Tillman's Super Market on Marion Street. A year later this ambitious man who loved to work, went in business for himself. He opened a convenience store in Lawndale and then Polkville. He eventually added another store in Lawndale. He met and married his wife Kim the same year. In 1983 he had some extra space in his Polkville store and with a friend, Donald Whisnant. He put in some furniture and called it Polkville Furniture Outlet. Later, he got out of the convenience store business and in the fall of 1986 he even sold the furniture business. Because he and Kim now had two children, he went to work for Food Lion for the benefits. He worked there two years. As a manager, he was required to work either all day or a half day on Sundays.
     Finally he told his wife, he wanted to be with his family and be able to go to church on Sunday. So, in November of 1988 he rented what was once a salvage store and opened Laughlins Furniture Outlet in Shelby. His wife, Kim, together with his Dad, Thurman became his staff. John would order, stock, sell, load and deliver. He just did it all! In 1992 his dad was discovered to have terminal cancer. He asked his younger son, Jerry, to go and help John. Finally, Jerry joined his brother in 1994.
   John Laughlin's idea was to sell furniture at a low price in a warehouse atmosphere and to give his customers the best. He stood and still stands behind everything he sells. He strongly believes that customer service is a priority. John never lets bad times get the best of him. He will tell you that: "Rain isn't going to last forever, eventually the sun will come out!".  His hard work and dedication to the community has paid off. He now has 5 full time and 6 part time employees and his three trucks go all over North and South Carolina. People come to shop from a 100 mile radius of the store. He is sought after by organizations and currently serves on five boards in Cleveland County. He gives scholarships to kids, and is very big on assisting anyone and everyone who needs help. He is driven by his belief that: "I need to make a difference."
     If you spend some time with this man, believe me, you'll get tired. He is constantly in motion either on the phone, directing deliveries, accomodating customers, ordering new merchandise and personally walking them to the door as he thanks them and wishes them a day full of blessings. He's definitely one of a kind and one of the kindest.

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