Alabama man peddles rocking chairs to residents

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 17, 2003

CENTREVILLE &045;&045; Normally, Wilk-Amite area residents would have to travel to Natchez or Baton Rouge to find a good selection of oak porch furniture.

But Thursday, the selection came to them as Alabama native Ed Fulmer towed a trailer loaded with porch rockers and swings through Southwest Mississippi.

Fulmer travels between Louisiana and Alabama buying shipments of wooden furniture from wholesalers and selling to customers along the way.

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&uot;I like dealing with people. I’ve done that all my life. I’ve been selling porch furniture this time for about seven years, but I first sold it when I was out of work once during the late 70s,&uot; Fulmer said.

Centreville residents rode slowly past Fulmer’s trailer on Main Street, gazing at the mound of 15 swings and 45 rockers.

A few stopped to inquire about prices and get a closer look at the workmanship.

A 59-year-old former carpenter and car salesman, Fulmer sells his rockers from $50 to $95 and porch swings for $120.

&uot;During the Depression years, they used to sell three-piece sets of porch furniture for $8. That’s a double rocker and two single rockers. Salesmen would walk door to door in North Carolina with three sets (nine pieces). Now, that three-piece set sells for $125,&uot; he said.

Porch rockers and swings were more of a necessity in the days before homes were air-conditioned.

Fulmer said he constantly travels, trying to find customers with the expendable income to invest in quality porch furniture.

&uot;You have to look for people with money. Somebody making minimum wages can’t afford to shell out $95 for a rocker,&uot; he said.

Fulmer’s wife, Arla, often travels with him.

The couple have been married 40 years and are expecting their first great-grandchild in seven months.