Today’s business landscape is dominated by major corporations and franchises. Years ago, America was overflowing with small, unique, and family friendly businesses when the “American dream” was thriving and every citizen believed they had the opportunity to start their own business. Now, it is virtually impossible for an entrepreneur to compete with these major businesses and corporations. But, the Chambers family has been successfully defying the odds right here in downtown Canton with their family business, the Chamberhouse.
Bud and Sylvia Chambers opened the doors of their first business at 145 West Main Street in Canton during 1974. Over the next 10 years, the Chambers family sold quality Chevrolets to the citizens of Canton from their Western Auto. In 1983 the Chambers transitioned their business into a home furnishing, antique, and fine gifts store known as the Chamberhouse. “We have stayed in business for so long because we keep evolving into what people want, from a car dealership to a fine gifts shop.” says co-owner, Cleveland Chambers. Today, the Chamberhouse is proudly run by Bud and Sylvia Chambers’ sons Cleveland and Benson Chambers and daughter Carla Roach. Throughout the transitions in ownership and merchandise, citizens of Canton can still enter the doors of the Chamberhouse and acquire a therapeutic shopping experience thanks to the soothing music, pleasant aroma, beautiful merchandise, and friendly staff.
The Chamberhouse has been evolving to suit customer needs since it first opened its doors as a Chevrolet dealership. Despite the change and evolution, the guest experience, family friendly environment, and friendly service has remained the same.
Today, The Chamberhouse has shifted its focus to appeal to a broad target market of females ranging in age from 16 to the late 50s. They carry popular products such as Vera Bradley, Pandora, and Spartina 449. The organization of the products, soothing music, and gentle fragrance of candles combines to create a soothing environment. Cleveland Chambers states that many times when he asks if guests need assistance he is met with, “no thank you, I am here for a therapy session.”
In addition to the boutique items and fine gifts, the Chamberhouse is home to many antiques ranging from artwork, photos of Canton landmarks and historical sites, pottery, jewelry, and furniture. “My uncle was in the Vietnam War and my aunt had nothing to do. I still remember going out and antiquing with her when I was young, it just kind of evolved into having those items in the store. And it gave her something to do” explained Cleveland Chambers.
“The people are by far the best part of my job, I love the people who I get to see and talk to.” Explains Cleveland Chambers. This statement is evident in the Chamberhouse. Upon walking through the doors one can expect to be greeted with a smile and a “may I help you with anything today?” One will also notice the avid community involvement from the local advertisements to the blue ribbon that reads, “Proud supporter of Reinhardt University.”
The Chamberhouse is an example of how the majority of businesses in America were before the conquering of franchises and box stores. Visitors of the Chamberhouse are filled with a sense of nostalgia of the way business in America once was: a friendly face of a local entrepreneur willing to support the community and appreciate the people who take their time to enter the doors of their business. As the retail stores grow and spread from the urban areas into the rural and suburban areas, family businesses and the legacies there of will become increasingly rare. The Chamberhouse brings history, support, and uniqueness to the city of Canton that can never be replaced by a franchise or major business. Citizens should do their best to appreciate and support the rare family owned gems such as the Chamberhouse.