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Hart Furniture Co. Announces Closing of its Wholesale/Distribution Division

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Hart Furniture Co., a leading source for top-brand furniture and bedding in North Carolina and neighboring states, reported that it is closing its wholesale/distribution division after 61 years of business.

Hart Furniture is ceasing operations of its wholesale/distribution division at 420 East 3rd St. in Siler City due to the recent passing of its president and owner, Harold K. Hart, who had been battling leukemia, and the economic impact that the recent recession has had on home furnishings. Lisa Hart Stout, Hart’s daughter, will continue to operate the company’s retail store, located at 12 Harold Hart Road. A sale will be held to liquidate all the wholesale inventory.

“The 3rd Street Warehouse will now be open to the public with products being offered on a first-come, first-served basis,” said Stout. “In addition, our retail store will hold a special celebration event to remember my Dad and commemorate the 61-year history of Hart Furniture Co. that will feature closeout merchandise.”

The Hart Furniture sale started on Thursday, November 7th. Products are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis.

Hart Furniture Co. traces its roots to 1952, when Gurman and Hazel Hart, Harold’s parents, started an upholstering and furniture repair business called G.A. Hart Upholstery & Repair Shop in a shed behind their home in Siler City. The couple quickly expanded the operation to a 1,500-square-foot building, which today forms the corner of the current Hart Furniture retail store.

In 1956, Harold Hart began working in the business as a teenager, buying secondhand furniture for repair and resale. After graduating from Jordan Matthews High School, Harold Hart deepened his partnership role in the business. He bought and repaired chairs, rockers and other furniture from companies such as Kincaid, Liberty, and Cochrane, as well as Sealy mattresses, for resale to local furniture stores. Over the years, buying and selling closeouts and other products from leading manufacturers became part of the Hart’s daily operation and, in 1969, Hart Furniture was incorporated as a retail and wholesale business.

Over the years, Hart Furniture has been expanded many times, growing to a $20 million retail/wholesale business serving more than 1,500 home furnishings retailers coast to coast. Today, the company occupies a total of 160,000 square feet of retail showroom and warehouse space in six buildings, with 11 tractors and trucks and 54 trailers.

The company carries a wide variety of top furniture brands, including AICO, American Drew, ART, Ashley, Bassett, Broyhill, Coast to Coast, Drexel, Flexsteel, Hammary, Hekman, Howard Miller, Lane, Lexington, Liberty, Pulaski, Sligh, Stein World, Universal, Vaughan and Vaughan-Bassett. The company also carries bedding from Imperial, Kingsdown, Sealy and Simmons.

“Hart Furniture sold both to retail consumers and to the wholesale furniture trade for decades,” said Stout. “Harold would visit the North Carolina market centers, buying bargains in large quantities and reselling these products to some of the largest retailers in the United States. He also helped dozens of smaller startup companies in North Carolina and the surrounding states, supplying goods to their stores.”

The Hart team includes a number of employees who have served with the company for decades. They include Sherry Kidd, 46 years; Albert Tally, 45 years; Wade Hackney, 45 years; Ken McPherson, 42 years; and Ruth Fields, 44 years. The company employs 27 people in all. Some long-term employees plan to retire and some of the warehouse employees will be absorbed into the continuing retail business.

Stout added that she “would like to say a big thank you for 61 years of successful business to our employees, customers and more than 1,500 wholesale customers from coast to coast.”

Throughout his career, Harold Hart had been an active contributor to his community. He served as a member and vice chair of the Siler City Planning Board and Board of Adjustments and as a board member of the Centennial Authority RBC Arena board, the Chatham County Hospital Board and the North Carolina State Health Coordinating Council. He also was an active member at First Baptist Church in Siler City, serving as a trustee and a current member of the finance committee, and the Siler City Rotary Club.

Hart received the Distinguished Citizen of the Year award in Chatham County in 2000-01, and Hart Furniture was named Small Business of the Year in Siler City in 1992. In August of this year, Hart was honored at the Piedmont Furniture Club’s annual golf tournament, raising $10,000 for Brenner Children’s Hospital.

He was an avid gun, knife and watch collector and a fan of N.C. State University and NASCAR.

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