MELCO INTERIORS on Washington Street in Owosso is closing for business. Owners Greg and Linda Cobb are shown in the showroom of their longtime business on Tuesday, Sept. 18. Melco opened in the same location on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 1976.

(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)


by Karen Mead-Elford, co-editor

In 1976, gas cost 59¢ per gallon, the Apple Computer Company was formed, Rocky was released in theaters and the United States celebrated the bicentennial. What else happened in 1976? Melco opened on Washington Street. in downtown Owosso on Wednesday, Sept. 1 – just over 42 years ago. Melco Interiors, as the business is named today, is owned by Greg and Linda Cobb, who are both lifelong residents of Owosso.

Greg’s mother, Meltha, started the business in her basement where she did drapery alterations. The drapery business evolved after two years when the property at 307 N. Washington St., owned by Margaret Curwen, was put up for sale. At that time, the building was a two-story structure that had included a fabric shop on the first floor. Meltha Cobb, who decided to combine the first portion of each of her first and last names to create the Melco name, along with Greg, purchased the Washington Street property and history was made.

For a long time, the business went as Melco Decorating and Furniture Restoration. The tanks for stripping old varnish off furniture are still in the back room, though they are no longer in use. Melco furniture pieces can be found throughout the county, including Curwood Castle where Greg created requested replicas.

Greg had not initially planned on going into decorating and furniture restoration. After graduating from Owosso High School in 1970, he attended Central Michigan University to become a teacher. He soon tired of working miscellaneous substitute jobs and found himself invested in business with his mother. The work was hard and it took continuous creative effort, but it also allowed him to work locally and to modify his work hours if his wife and children required it.

Meltha retired at 65 and Greg bought her portion of the business, though he continued to maintain the same high standards the community had come to expect.

There have been considerable changes to downtown Owosso since 1976. Greg and Linda Cobb both recall when Owosso was a central hub and included such businesses as the Ruth Shop and Capitan’s Restaurant, and though Owosso remains busy today, it is a far different environment than it was decades ago. Perhaps the biggest change that the Melco business undertook was related to a fire in March of 1982 that eliminated the second floor apartment area of the property. It is theorized that the fire was started by a cigar in an adjoining building. Regardless of the damage, Melcos continued to operate in downtown Owosso.

Linda retired as an employee of Owosso Public Schools recently and is excited to “travel the world over,” she shared. Inspired by his wife, Greg has decided to retire, as well. After careful consideration, the Cobbs have opted to close Melco Interiors this month to free up plenty of travel time. The property will be listed with Selleck Real Estate. Merchandise, tools and machinery will be auctioned off. The Cobbs are particularly looking forward to visiting some old friends from Owosso who now reside out-of-state.

Doors of Longtime Owosso Business Closing Due to Retirement was last modified: September 24th, 2018 by Karen Elford