Timberlake Furniture Line To Continue US Domestic Production
Furniture World Magazine
A partnership between artist and designer Bob Timberlake, Kepley-Frank Hardwood Company Inc. and Lexington Home Brands, will allow The World of Bob Timberlake furniture line to continue to be domestically manufactured in Lexington, N.C.
“I am so pleased that this effort will bring back jobs for folks in this area of the state,” said U.S. Senator Elizabeth Dole. “With the North Carolina economy in transition and our traditional industries being hit especially hard, this is indeed welcome news. I applaud Bob Timberlake for his hard work and dedication to his trade, as well as all of the many other folks involved in this venture.”
“Since the closing of Plant #2 at the end of last year we have been working with several parties to insure that the Timberlake core collection would be domestically made as Bob Timberlake has desired. The opportunity to not only do that but to have the production to remain in Davidson County was a wonderful conclusion to this issue”, stated Bob Stec, Lexington Home Brands Chairman and CEO.
When Bob Timberlake first began designing his premium line of unique American home furnishings, he instinctively wanted to create historic designs, unique to this country and its roots and he also wanted his furniture crafted in his hometown of Lexington.
Since The World of Bob Timberlake line debuted in 1989, many furniture companies have shifted major lines to overseas production. But Timberlake remained dedicated to his beliefs. He insisted this line be produced in the United States, and preferably right in his hometown.
“In my mind, there is no comparison to the high quality and craftsmanship of the American worker,” Timberlake said. “If there was ever a product that deserved to be produced here in America, The World of Bob Timberlake certainly qualifies. I am so proud and pleased that this situation worked out well for all concerned. This is a dream come true for me and our community.”
“It takes someone with conviction and an appreciation for heritage to do what Timberlake has,” said furniture industry analyst Jerry Epperson. “Very few people take a stand like he has. He feels very strongly about his community and it adds to my respect for Bob. I wish there were more of him out there. He is a very singular individual.”
After Lexington Plant #2 closed, Jim Kepley, owner of Kepley-Frank, approached Lexington Home Brands about purchasing the plant so he could continue to dry lumber at the facility, with a view to expanding his operation. During negotiations, Lexington Home Brands discussed with Kepley the possibility of his company manufacturing The World of Bob Timberlake furniture line. Kepley turned to his longtime friend, Bob Timberlake, for advice. Their discussions led to the formation of a new company, Linwood Furniture Incorporated.
“This partnership and opportunity just seemed natural to me,” said Kepley. “We formed Linwood because my family and company have a history with the furniture industry in Lexington, just as Bob and his family do. With the support of Lexington Home Brands, our new partnership gives all three of us a chance to continue this area’s heritage while providing jobs for many skilled workers in our community.”
Linwood has acquired Plant #2 from Lexington Home Brands and entered into an exclusive domestic manufacturing contract for the original Timberlake furniture line.
“I am excited and honored to be working with Kepley-Frank Hardwood Company and Lexington Home Brands to continue the legacy of Plant #2 here in Lexington,” Timberlake said. “This is not only important for our community but also means a great deal personally to my family. My family has been in the furniture business here in Lexington for generations. This is home. This is our history.”
Timberlake says his original and namesake furniture collection was born of American craftsmanship and deserves to continue to be manufactured by American workers. “Sometimes it’s hard to take a stand and do the right thing. I’m happy everything worked out for the best.”
Linwood will operate as Linwood Furniture Inc. It took possession of Plant #2 on March 1, 2006. The company plans to hire some 50 workers almost immediately. The city of Lexington and Davidson County are supporting the effort with an economic incentive package. Linwood will invest more than $5 million dollars in capital and machinery and anticipates hiring as many as 200 workers in the next 18 months to operate the plant.
“The unique advantage we have here locally is the abundance of critical resources involved in making furniture,” Kepley said. “Our community is dedicated to being good stewards of our natural resources but without a doubt, our most precious resources are the skilled craftspeople who live and work here.”
About Bob Timberlake: Bob Timberlake was born in Salisbury, N.C., but grew up in Lexington, N.C., where he maintains his home and studio.
In 1989, Bob Timberlake first partnered with Lexington Home Brands to create The World of Bob Timberlake, the best-selling furniture collection of all time. Since then, Timberlake and Lexington Home Brands have broadened the scope of the brand so that it now includes a range of styles, including eighteenth century, arts and crafts, and English and Irish cottage.
He has won numerous awards during his career including: the only Albert Schweitzer Medal for Artistry, the American Forestry Award, North Carolina Public Servant of the Year, the Iron Eyes Cody Award, and the Outstanding Alumnus Award from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Governor Mike Easley bestowed North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, The Order of the Long Leaf Pine, on Bob Timberlake on January 19, 2006. Bob and his wife Kay have three children and seven grandchildren.
About Kepley-Frank Hardwood Company: Kepley-Frank Hardwood Company is headquartered in Lexington, N.C., where it was founded in 1959. Its 80 employees and its president, Jim Kepley, work with a vision of purchasing the highest-quality standing timber from private land owners, then directing them in the areas of land and forest management, including reforestation, to provide for the continuation of our natural wood resources.
Its three sawmills produce about 15 million board feet annually, while the company’s wholesale brokerage buys, processes and markets an additional 12-15 million board feet of fine North American hardwood. The company sells pulpwood to paper, particle board and OSB board companies
Due to its commitment to reforestation and an understanding of wood as a renewable resource, the second generation of Kepley-Frank owners has been able to re-harvest the same land the company’s founders processed in the company’s early years. A full-circle timber company, Kepley-Frank takes pride in its stewardship of the area’s environment and natural resources.
About Linwood Furniture Inc.: Linwood will be the exclusive manufacturer of all domestically-made furniture for Lexington Home Brands for The World of Bob Timberlake licensed line. In addition, Linwood will provide contract manufacturing services for other similarly situated furniture companies in the home furnishings industry.
About Lexington Home Brands: Lexington Home Brands is a leading global marketer and manufacturer of branded case goods and upholstery, with the industry’s largest brand portfolio. Well-known consumer brands include Bob Timberlake®, Liz Claiborne Home, Nautica, Palmer Home™, Tommy Bahama® Home, Waverly®, and Woolrich®. LHB also markets products under two house brands, Lexington® and Henry Link Trading Company™. Youth brands include Bob Timberlake® GrandKids and Lexington® Kids. Products are distributed through Lexington Home Retailers, independent home furnishings retailers, Destination Home retail stores, and designer showrooms.
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