When Lakewood native Mark Moore graduated college, he was sure he was not going to join the family business. His grandfather J. Ray Weir founded Weir’s Early American Shop in 1948 in a 20- by 70-foot storefront on Knox Avenue, and Moore grew up working there on holidays and weekends.
He graduated from Baylor University and was determined to go his own way. “Without question, my future would never be here,” he said of the store. “I would never step foot here again.”
But as fate would have it, he would become the third generation of family to run the store.
Grandpa Weir moved his family from Fort Worth to Dallas to start the store on Knox, which at the time, was the appliance capital of Dallas. To grow the business, he began selling furniture at lower margins to increase quantity before sales and discounts were popular.
Moore’s mother raised him in Lakewood on Carolyn Crest, where he grew up going to Wilshire Baptist Church and spending time at Hillside Village. He looks back fondly on his time in the neighborhood, where he played sports, attended J.L. Long and graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School. “It was a different era,” he says. “We didn’t worry about locking our doors.”
After graduating from Baylor, Moore started in a Sanger-Harris management-training program. He moved to become a buyer for Neiman Marcus, but he became disenchanted with the position and bureaucracy of such a large corporation. “It wasn’t what I thought it would be,” he says.
A market crash in the 1980s ended his short-lived real estate career, and Moore needed a job. He reached out to his uncle Dan, who had taken over Weir’s in 1972, for a job. “I sucked it up, called and said, ‘Do you need anybody?'” he says. Even though he grew up working in the country store, where sweets and home goods were sold next to a functioning post office, he still had to go through the application process. He started out on the sales floor in the bedding department.
He soon found success and was close to setting a record on the sales floor when he was moved to be a buyer. (He is still a bit bitter about not finishing the year.) He became the CEO and president of Weir’s Furniture in 2003, the third generation of family leadership. Over the years, Weir’s added five locations and more than 300 employees, and they are not done growing.
This fall, the Knox Weir’s will close for as long as two years while the building is demolished for a new high-rise office complex. Weir’s will remain in that location, a 12-story building with six stories of parking below.
The 106-year-old Highland Park Soda Fountain’s façade will remain, though it closed in September, and it is unclear whether it will open again. Moore calls the new building a generational project, and he emphasized Weir’s desire to be a good neighbor. “We care. We are going to be here, and we want to add to the community,” he says.
Over the years, Weir’s growth was balanced with its core values. Faith and family come first. All Weir’s locations are closed on Sundays, a key day for shopping. “People have questioned that over the years, but that is what we believe in. That is what we stand for,” he says. “We have been blessed with good business.”
Moore prides himself and his business on treating customers and employees with respect, and he becomes emotional when discussing the business. “Everybody deserves to be taken care of. They all need to be treated with respect, and we need to serve them with the excellence they deserve,” he says. “We are trying to make their houses home.”
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