|W. G. "Mickey" Holliman, Jr. (1937) was named chairman, president and CEO of Furniture Brands International in 1996. Today, Action Industries, which he co-founded in 1976 is the largest domestic supplier of motion furniture in the United States and Furniture Brands International is the largest furniture corporation in the world.
|Morton Seaman (1932), vice chairman of Rooms To Go, built Seaman's into one of the largest furniture retailers in the Northeast, with 30 stores and annual sales of $290 million. When he sold Seaman's in 1988, he became his son Jeffrey's mentor and partner in establishing the next generation’s new concept in furniture, Rooms To Go. Today RTG is the largest furniture retailer in the country.
|J. Thayer Coggin (1920 - 2003) founded his company in 1953. He pioneered the move in the United Sates toward producing high quality, contemporary designs.... far removed from the traditional designs that had dominated the American market since the beginning of the industrial age. He changed the face of retailing and helped create the contemporary market.
|Spencer Colie Kittinger (1901-1968) was president of the Kittinger Company, founded in 1886. Beginning in 1941, during a period of growth and innovation, Spencer spent half a century as a design leader and innovator. His efforts to ensure the highest quality standards, helped to raise the level of the entire industry.
|William H. Child (b 1932), has been chief executive officer of R. C. Willey Company for over 40 years. When he assumed management responsibilities in 1954, the company was deeply in debt. He not only saved the company, but with his leadership abilities, created one of America's top home furnishings enterprises moving it from annual sales of $250,000 to a powerful organization of 2,500 employees and $500 million in sales.
|Jerry Epperson (b 1948) provided the furniture industry with something it lacked - a focused resource of furniture knowledge by using proficiency in markets, mergers and acquisitions, and talents, both writing and speaking. He has made himself an invaluable industry asset. Jerry developed his skills at Scott & Stringfellow, Wheat First Securities and Mann, Armistead and Epperson. He is a chartered financial analyst, a NASD registered representative and publishes The Furnishings Digest Monthly.
|Andrew Major (b 1921) is a preeminent textile pioneer. As former president of Collins and Aikman Decorative Fabrics, he presided over the world's leading fabric group consisting of Mastercraft Fabrics, C&A Home Fabrics, C&A Velvets, Mastercraft Contract, Doblin Fabrics, Greeff and Warner Fabrics. He joined Mastercraft in 1946, became president in 1960, assumed ownership in 1969, and is responsible for the company's meteoric rise, which today provides employment for 3,500 and sales in excess of $350 million.
|Charles E. Hayworth, Jr. (b 1913 - d 1994) was CEO of Hayworth Industries, Alma Desk, Clarendon Industries, Hayworth Roll and Panel, Liberty Veneer and Myrtle Desk. While he was chairman of the Southern Furniture Exposition Building (now IHFC) from 1986-1993, and on the Board of Directors for some forty years. He also worked to make the Radisson Hotel a reality.
|Alvin E. "Bo" Bland (1924), president of Action Industries, began his career working with pioneer Morris Futorian, to bring furniture manufacturing and growth into Mississippi. In 1970, he co-founded Action Industries, which was merged into The Lane Company in 1972. "Bo" helped develop the mechanisms that brought growth to the recliner chair market.
|David Wolcott Kendall (1851-1910) was the most widely copied of American Furniture designers. He was active in areas of furniture design, manufacturing, marketing and education. His design credits include the McKinley chair, Morris Chair and the first revolving, reclining office chair. Kendall College of Arts and Design is named after him.
|Art Van Elslander (1930) chairman and owner of Art Van Furniture, opened his first store in 1959 in Michigan. Today, Art Van operates 28 state-of-the-art stores in Michigan with a 40% share of the market. His success is attributed to his confidence, strong merchandising and marketing skills, the respect and loyalty of his employees, customers, and suppliers and good will in the communities where he does business.
|Nathan S. Ancell (1908 - 1999) was celebrated as "Honored Founder" of The American Furniture Hall of Fame as his "Affie" award was presented. The special tribute by Patrick H. Norton, Chairman of La-Z-Boy Incorporated, noted his contributions to the furniture industry during sixty years of visionary leadership. Co-Founder of Ethan Allen, with his brother-in-law Theodore Baumritter in 1932, Nat was known as the father of the gallery concept. His mission statement, "Home is the Core of Civilization", guided his vision and became for many the true mission "To promote dreams not just furniture-to help consumers have the attractive homes they want, regardless of the station in life." A true builder of the industry, he was founder and first president of The Home Furnishings Council, received the first "Distinguished Service Award" from The American Furniture Manufacturers Association and served as leader, encourager, and inspiration to industry leaders for most of the 20' Century.
|Don Allen Hunziker (1927) began his career with Lea Furniture Company in Richmond, Virginia and worked his way up to the presidency. He joined with other management personnel in 1981 to purchase Lea Industries, American-Drew, and Daystrom from the Sperry and Hutchinson Company forming LADD. Under his leadership, LADD survived a depression and high interest rates to become one of the largest furniture manufacturers in the country. Hunziker received the "Distinguished Service Award" from AFMA and was named "Chief Executive Of The Year" by "Financial World Magazine" in 1988.
|Harley Ferguson Shuford, Jr. (1937) became president of Century Furniture in 1969 with the retirement of his father, Harley F. Shuford Sr., founder of Century. Buck, who had aspired to become an astronaut and a scientist, majored in physics at UNC-CH graduating Phi Beta Kappa. As president, he put his scientific background to work using computer technology to achieve greater efficiencies. He moved Century into production of furniture with quality and style, added plant and showroom space that spurred solid growth as Century became one of the premier furniture manufacturers in this country. He received the AFMA "Distinguished Service Award" in 1994 and served on the first board of trustees of the American Furniture Hall of Fame.
|Elliot Sherrill Wood (1909 - 1999) started his first furniture manufacturing company, Heritage, in 1937 and built high-quality product that raised the reputation of southern-made furniture. Wood launched Founders Furniture in 1946 and, in 1947, was on the founding board of directors of high-end manufacturer Henredon. In 1957 Heritage merged with Drexel and Morganton to become Drexel-Heritage. In 1963, Wood and partners founded Woodmark, and in 1981 he founded Markwood, which provided venture capital for the industry and helped launch many other furniture enterprises.
|Henry Talmadge Link (b1889 - d1983) organized Dixie Furniture Company in 1936 with 90 employees. In 1940, after visits to automobile factories in Detroit, he equipped Dixie Furniture with motorized conveyors, thus introducing the industry to mass production of product. For nearly half a century, Mr. Link was the man at the helm as Dixie grew and spread to become the largest manufacturer of bedroom furniture in the world and included: Link-Taylor (1949) Young-Hinkle (1962); Dixie-Linkwood (1972) and Wicker by Henry Link (1984). Henry Link accompanied then governor of North Carolina, Luther Hodges to Europe in the 1950's in search of business for the furniture industry.
| Earl N. Phillips (b1875 - d1975) was an entrepreneur in several fields of home furnishings. During his fifty-year career, he founded many companies to provide services to the furniture industry: Phillips Mills; Phillips Factors and First Factors, National Springs Corporation and co-founded Phillips Foscue . He served as mayor of High Point, and was founding chairman of many community institutions such as the String and Splinter Club and the world-renowned Hatteras Yacht Company. He endowed the Phillips School of Business at High Point University.
|George Alden Thornton, Jr. ( b1905 - d1980) was chairman of the board of Heilig-Meyers from 1970 until his death. When his nine stores merged with Heilig-Meyers eighteen stores, the combined volume of Meyers-Thornton was 11 million dollars. The new merger provided the opportunity to use Mr. Thornton's 40 years of retail experience, and his visionary development of a corporate centralized management team, system and warehouse, to form the foundation for Heilig-Meyers growth.
|Hollis Seibe Baker (1888-1966)
Hollis S. Baker was a "Renaissance Man" of the furniture industry. He was artist, connoisseur, salesman, administrator and leader. Upon graduation from the University of Michigan, he entered his father's company, Baker Furniture, and remained with it all his working life. He was its head from 1925 until his death in 1966 and presided over its spectacular success and growth over that period.
His company's leadership in design excellence and maintenance of the highest quality standards came directly from his insistence. Through his own products, he raised the performance levels of the entire industry.
From his own research, he learned more about the history of furniture design and construction than anyone else of his era. His knowledge, experience and acquisitiveness resulted in a major collection of exemplary pieces now housed in his Baker Museum in Holland, Michigan and the Grand Rapids Art Museum.
Virtually his whole life was devoted to furniture. He was dedicated to design, serving as president and trustee of the Grand Rapids Art Museum and trustee of the Parsons School of Furniture Design in New York. He was instrumental in the founding of American Institute of Decorators (now the American Society of Interior Designers).
|J. D. Bassett, (1866-1965)
As much as any man, J. D. Bassett, founder of the Bassett Furniture Industries, Inc., shaped the complexion of the Ameri-can Furniture Industry and established the South as the nation's predominant area for furniture manufacturing. He was responsible- for starting a company that In 50 years went from being a shipper of raw lumber to the world's largest producer of wood furniture-. His foresight and competitive spirit helped spawn numerous other furniture manufacturing companies, among them Stanley, Vaughan, and Vaughan-Bassett, Hooker, United Furniture, Galax Mirror and Bassett Mirror, to whom he contributed manufacturing' know-how and Initial capital. During the depression he gifted employees with hams and developed staggered work schedules to enable them to earn enough for their basic needs. Bassett founded the First National Bank of Bassett and helped his wife with construction of the Pocahontas Bassett Baptist Church as well as a community and recreation center for the town.
|Harold Philip Braun (1904-1990)
Harold Philip Braun was known to his peers as "The Great White Father," a reference to his tall and striking appearance, his white hair and mustache, and to the fact that he authored the Constitution of the International Home Furnishings Representatives Association.
Mr. Braun represented Hickory Cabinet, Granite Furniture, Hickory Furniture Shops, and Berkline. He remained with Berkline most of his career until his retirement. His strong influence on fellow sales representatives extended beyond his company affiliations.
As a leader in his professional association, IHFRA, he originated the "Buy Better Furniture Values Now" program that was tied to the National Open House Week. He presented the idea at IHFRA's Conference in Chicago in 1958, and throughout the' year traveled extensively speaking to retailers, manufacturers and suppliers about the program. At a meeting in Greensboro, NC, attended by some 600 industry leaders, the program was adopted. He traveled and spoke extensively in support of the program, sometimes to the neglect of his own business. The program drew commendation from throughout the industry. In 1977 he was presented with lHFRA's Distinguished Service Award (known then as the "Man of the Mark" award), and today the award bears Harold Braun's name.
Harold Braun's gift of leadership extended outside the industry as well. He was an important influence on the passage of the Keogh Self Employment pension law, often traveling to Washington at his own expense to advocate the bill's passage.
|James Edgar Broyhill (1892-1988)
He started as a farm boy, became an apple peddler, and saw mill hand, but James Edgar Broyhill met his destiny when he reamed to upholstered furniture. He soon set up shop In a barn, hauling seating in a cart to peddle on weekends in Charlotte.
Born In a rural Wilkes County farmhouse in 1892, he moved to Lenoir after serving in WWI and began a furniture business in 1926 which has grown to 7.000 employees (since acquired by INTERCO).
During and after WWII, he served on the Advisory Committee of the War Production Board and as chairman of the Furniture Advisory Committee of the Office of Price Administration. For four successive terms in the 1 940s, he piloted the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association, and in the early 1960s, served on the board of directors of the National Association of Manufacturers. His Broyhill Foundation significantly contributes to civic, education and religious causes.
|John Christian Bernhardt (1906-)
John Christian Bernhardt is Chairman of the Board of Bernhardt Industries, which was founded by his father in 1889. John Christian joined the company in 1927, starting at the lumber yard, rough end, veneer department, and advancing through the entire production process.
With a degree in Business Administration from Davidson College, Bernhardt was well qualified to lead the company through the acquisition of a series of other companies and participation In several joint ventures. He added upholstery manufacturing to their successful case goods line. This resulted in considerable growth in sales, production, and the number of employees.
His concern for employees was a top priority. He saw that the company accorded a number of benefits long; before other companies adopted the practice and he included the employees of each newly acquired company. Under his guidance, Communications Teams were formed and later Quality Circles were added...all to give employees a voice in the company and a share of the earnings.
John Christian Bernhardt has been a distinguished leader within the furniture Industry and In every area of his life. He served as president of the Furniture Manufacturers Marketing Association, Director of SFMA (now AFMA), received the James T. Ryan Distinguished Service Award and was the first recipient of the Johnson Wax Centennial Award. He served as an officer and director of many companies, foundations, civic, and community organizations.
|Nathan I. "Sandy" Bienenstock (1902-1998)
Nathan I, "Sandy" Bienenstock was one of the most important home furnishings journalists of his generation. During his 66 year entrepreneurial career, he reached out to the retail community, furniture manufacturers, sales representatives, and designers, both personally and through the pages of "FURNITURE WORLD." a publication that continues to thrive through his vision into its 127th year (you are reading this bio on FURNITURE WORLD's website FurnInfo.com).
He became an authority on furniture styles, production methods and marketing. Articles in "Furniture World" and educational brochures have provided "how-to's" and much needed training to all areas of the industry,
He traveled world wide for more than half a century collecting over 8000 books on furniture, architecture, fabrics, and manufacturing, The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library, founded in 1970 by FURNITURE WORLD Magazine is the largest and most complete library and public gift of books on home furnishings in the world. "Sandy" wrote four books on home furnishings, Including "History of American Furniture," which is in use as a college text.
Bienenstock received the Southern Furniture Manufacturers' Association "Distinguished Service Award" and the IHFRA "Pillars of Industry Award." He co-founded the Furniture Educational Institute and helped to found the school for furniture engineering at North Carolina State. He began his life of giving in the early 1920 s as a counselor for young troubled New York boys from broken homes.
|Rose Gorelick Blumkin (1897-)
Rose Gorelick Blumkin, matriarch of the legendary Blumkin family and founder of Nebraska Furniture Mart, continues to work 14 hour days and has no plans to retire... ever. At her recent 100th birthday party, she was honored for her strength, solid values and ideals, business ethics, and community involvement.
"Mrs. B" fled Russia in 1917 and joined her husband Isadore. She started a used clothing and furniture business in a basement with a borrowed $500 investment.
The first Nebraska Furniture Mart opened in downtown Omaha in 1937, but business did not come easy. Manufacturers, at first, would not sell to Mrs. B and banks would not lend her money. By 1948, Mrs. B had raised and saved enough money to move to a better building. Today son, Louie, and grandsons, Ron and Irv, carry on the tradition of "over-deliver and under-promise." Success is attributed to part work ethic, part unwavering commitment to a low-price policy and service, part history and reputation, part vision, and part execution.
In the late 1 930's, Mrs. B worked with a friend on the dream of establishing a Jewish homeland in Palestine by opening her home and inviting prospective supporters. A decade later, Israel was founded and this friend, Golda Meir, served as the first prime minister.
Rose Blumkin is lauded by a U.S. president, members of congress, and business dignitaries as one of America's greatest entrepreneurs ... one whose undaunted spirit built a multi-million dollar business literally from the basement up.
|David Brunn (1909-)
David Brunn served the furniture" industry for 60 years as a retailer, sales representative, manufacturer, journalist. educator, lecturer, and industry leader An immigrant son, he was raised in a NYC ghetto, and rose from clerk to Vice President/GM of W&J Sloane, prestigious national retail and contract powerhouse (1924-52).
He guided Drexel Furniture Company as a high end manufacturer, style leader and trend setter as he rose to Board Member and President (1952-1964).
Following his retirement at age 60, he contributed 20 years of additional voluntary service. For ten years, he was Chairman of FICAP and served as a board member for the first all-industry promotions, "Debut 71 & 73". He was faculty member and advisor for an Appalachian State University furniture course which earned him Honorary Doctorate of Commercial Science. He was a member of the Presidential Commission to explore U.S. furniture European potential (1972) and was an advisor in establishing the American Furniture Hall of Fame (1976 and 1988). He has been recognized with distinguished service awards by Southern and American Furniture Manufacturers Associations.
|Robert George Culp, Sr. (1917-1991)
Robert George Culp, Sr. devoted his entire career to the further development of the upholstery fabric industry.
In 1972, at age 55, he risked his entire life savings to start Culp, Inc. with his son, Rob. During 20 years as the head of Culp, he guided the firm from fabric converter to one of the leading vertical manufacturers of upholstered fabrics in our industry. In addition, he became a manufacturer of Jacquards, dobbies, prints and velvets. Sales at his death approached $200 million.
Recognized as a leader in all areas of fabrics, he introduced many new concepts regarding the application of various upholstered fabric instructions to upholstered furniture including developing 54" as a standard width and railroading of fabrics for better cutting yield. He is credited with developing and pioneering the heat-transfer method of printing cloth for upholstery; introducing tufting machinery for the manufacture of velvets; and developing a regional warehouse concept to support manufacturing centers.
His company has become one of the most important suppliers of fabrics for the furniture and bedding industries. He was a builder... not only of a respected company ... but of many educational and civic organizations.
With limited resources, Mr. Culp developed a business from scratch to become a leader in both innovation and growth in a major industry against well-entrenched, powerful competition. He also gave generously of his time, talents, and resources to education and the community.
|Thomas Austin Finch, Jr. (1922-1984)
Thomas Austin Finch, Jr. played a dominant role in the success of Thomasville Furniture Industries, now a giant in the industry. Under his leadership, the 87 year old company became a powerful force in the national marketplace. After learning every phase of the manufacturing process, Tom A., as he was affectionately called throughout the Industry, assumed the presidency in 1961. He plowed profits back into plant improvement, new equipment. and the employment of top flight designers,
Part of his secret was that Tom A. believed in instituting communications with consumers in advance of designing and market planning - a practice new to the industry, that he advocated in a Merchandise Mart address In Chicago In 1967. He helped to set Industry patterns with his ability to bring out new designs to anticipate market trends In the presentation of products; his insistence on extensive showrooms; and his use of professional interior designers. He created excitement and drama In presentation that carried through to retail sales floors. These pioneering efforts resulted in dramatic sales iIncreases and sophisticated, luxurious gallery displays - such as retail dealers now employ.
He was elected chairman, Board of Governors, American Furniture Mart; president Furniture Factories' Marketing Association. and the Southern Furniture Manufacturers' Association (now AFMA). The American Furniture Mart named him "Furniture Man of the Year." SFMA presented him the "J.T. Ryan Award." He served In every area In his community and state... gubernatorial appointments, and a trustee of Woodberry Forest School, High Point College and Duke University... although he was a Princeton graduate.
|Henry Foscue (1904-1985)
Henry Foscue received a degree in Business Administration in 1926 from the University of North Carolina, and went to work for the Globe Parlor Furniture Company. Over 44 years, he became president and chairman, retiring in 1970 as principal owner.
He became a director of the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association in 1935, became president in 1949; then chairman. He received the highest honor of that group, the James T. Ryan Award, in 1968. He was designated "Man of the Year" by the Chicago American Furniture Mart in 1948.
In 1958, he was the leader of a group of manufacturers who established the Furniture Manufacturing and Management curriculum at North Carolina State University. Realizing that the educational activity required funding, in 1959 he became founding president of The Furniture Foundation, and served until his death. An endowed professorship and a student loan fund in his name commemorate these efforts. He was director of the Home Economics Foundation at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, and instrumental in founding their program in interior design. For these educational activities, he received a doctorate from NCSU in 1964, from UNC-G in 1966, and from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1981. He was the only non-governor of North Carolina to receive these three doctorates.
He joined the board of the Southern Furniture Exposition Building (now IHFC) in 1931. He was president from 1958 until his death, leading in seven of the ten major expansions of the market building.
|Morris Futorian (1907-1994)
The "Henry Ford" the upholstered furniture industry he emigrated from Russia In 1923 at age 15 and, after a brief fling in Chicago's Yiddish Theater, went to work as an upholsterer in the Glabman factory. By 1935, he began hand-making upholstery at home at night and selling it by day. Inspired by a visit to a Detroit automobile assembly plant, he built a factory In New Albany, MS (naming it Stratford after the Chicago street he lived on). To speed the manufacturing process and take advantage of unskilled labor, Futorian standardized designs and broke the assembly line process down Into individual operations.
To ship In record time and keep warehousing and inventory costs low, he shipped only In carload lots. By 1952, he was able to sell Stratford reclining chairs at under $99.00. By 1954, he was supporting three production and two supply factories In Mississippi and two North Carolina factories producing higher-priced BarcaLoungers. In 1964, his companies were acquired by Mohasco Industries with Futorian remaining as president until his retirement in 1981.
|John R. "Jack" Gerken, Jr. (1926-)
John R. "Jack" Gerken, Jr., past president and chairman of Norwalk Furniture Corporation joined Norwalk in 1947. Beginning as an industrial engineer, he used his strong intellect, rare vision, and unbridled energy to help Norwalk grow from a regional manufacturer to a formidable national competitor in manufacturing technology, industrial relations and marketing innovations.
In the 1960's, Jack, with his brother Ned, pioneered the furniture franchising concept. He was the driving force behind developing the International Woodworking Machinery Show and Furniture Supply Fair (IWF). He helped to unite NAFM and SFMA into the American Furniture Manufacturers Association and was prominent in the development of an econometric forecasting model for the home furnishings industry. He served as a director of AFMA, president of NAFM, and charter board member of IWF and UFAC.
|Raymond Gerken's (1902-1994)
Raymond Gerken's leadership role in the furniture industry began in 1934 and continued as he successfully led Norwalk Furniture through the depression and World War II.
His major contributions to the industry include: the development in the 1950's of a componentized manufacturing process and factory scheduling system, and his own delivery fleet of trucks that allowed Norwalk to offer consumers more than 100,000 selections in chair and sofa styles and fabrics ... all available in just 30 days. This is a widely adopted industry practice today.
In the early 1960's Gerken pioneered a comprehensive testing program which enabled Norwalk to offer the protection of a fabric warranty as part of its product warranty. Many of the testing methods he developed have been adapted for industry use by the "Joint Industry Fabric Standards Committee."
Gerken pioneered the standardization of rails in upholstered frames so that they could be cut to maximize the yield of frame parts and reduce manufacturing costs.
As president of National Association of Furniture Manufacturers in 1963-64, he pushed for an industry-wide "Seal of Integrity" program. An endless quest for better manufacturing led to Gerken's development of a conveyorized sewing room where he developed manufacturing technology that is widely used in the industry today.
|Robert A. Glick (1916-)
Robert A. Glick is chairman of the board of Glick Furniture Company, the largest furniture retailer in Central Ohio, established in 1907. Current operations include five showcase stores in the Columbus area, and stores in Newark and Chillicothe.
Bob has been a member of the National Home Furnishings Association board of directors since 1950, and was elected president in 1966. He was the first President of the Home Furnishings Council of America for 1968 and chairman of the All Furniture Industry Conference in 1967 in Washington, DC. Mr. Glick also serves on the Board of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants.
Glick Furniture Company and Robert A. Glick, individually, have been the recipients of the All American Merchants Furniture Industry Award, Furniture World Award of Merit, Brand Name Furniture Retailer of the Year, Furniture Industry Certificate of Merit, Apollo Award as Outstanding Summer Furniture Merchant, and the Home Furnishings Group of National Retail Merchants Association Creative Merchandising Award.. The Ohio Wholesale Furniture Salesmen's Association recognized Mr. Glick's public awareness and interest in home furnishing. Glick Furniture Company has been listed the past two years among the -100 Largest Private Companies in Central Ohio.
His many civic and charitable activities include: the Salvation Army Board, Better Business Bureau and Urban Renewal Commission. He received the Volunteer of the Decade. Award for his association with Ronald McDonald House.
|Bob Gruenberg (1918-)
Robert P. "Bob" Gruenberg organized the first all-industry Home Furnishings Conference, held in San Francisco in 1967. The conference marked and was based on the first home furnishings Industry market research -- the Stanford University Study. Gruenberg, then executive vice president of the National Home Furnishings Association, (NHFA) put together a coalition of industry executives and associations including: the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers, the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association, the National Home Furnishings Association, the National Association of Bedding Manufacturers, and the Carpet and Rug Institute. This group became the Home Furnishings Council and organized the first attempt at marketing home furnishings nationwide with "Debut 71" and "Debut 73." While he served as general manager of the Southern Furniture Market Center from 1972-1986, Gruenberg was instrumental in guiding the High Point market through economic downturns and challenges until it fulfilled his vision -- to make it the pre-eminent furniture market in the world.
|James Joseph Haverty (1859-1939)
A Department store cash boy at age 14, in 1885 he invested $6OO in a 25 x 75 foot Atlanta fur-niture store that he parlayed into today's S300 million multi-state Haverty Furniture Companies.
The son of Irish immigrants, Haverty learned retailing in Atlanta dry goods stores. Of his early pioneer-ing partnership with Amos Rhodes he said. ''I am proudest of the system which provided every homemaker with an opportunity to obtain beautiful furniture to provide his family with more pleasant surroundings than he could otherwise afford." This was by selling furniture on the installment plan. Attracted by the growing West. he would buy a furniture store, retain the former owner as manager and partial owner and thus assure his heart was in the business. This group became known as "Graduates of Haverty's Management." Privately, he headed the Atlanta Arts Association, as well as President Franklin Roosevelt's Federal Arts Project of the Works Progress Administration for the
|Mary McKenzie Henkel (1910-)
Mary Henkel is a lifelong resident of Winchester, Virginia. She studied at the Parsons School of Interior Design in New York and later at Winchester Business School. She, her husband Carroll H. Henkel, and John Harris established the Henkel-Harris Company in 1946. Harris soon sold his share to them, and Mary and "Henk" together persevered to develop their company from a verysmall start to its present highly respected position in the furniture industry.
Tragically, Carroll died in 1969, leaving Mary to pilot the growing and successful company on her own. By her industry, intelligence and "grit," and by meticulously following his principles, she carried it onward to even greater prominence. Their son Bill was able to assume the presidency in 1982 and Mary became chairman of the board.
Mary Henkel was elected to the Board of Directors of the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association (now AFMA), the first woman to receive such an honor. She has established scholarships for students interested in careers in the furniture industry including the Carroll H. Henkel Memorial Scholarship Fund at North Carolina State University. She is a director of The Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library in High Point.
Mary's sincere desire is that everyone remember that it was her own and Carroll's drive, business ability and will to succeed together that created their company and led to its leading position in the furniture industry today. Any honor bestowed is shared as teammates, best friends and loving partners.
|Clyde Hooker, Jr. (b 1920)
Clyde Hooker, Jr. (b 1920) joined Hooker Furniture in 1946, was elected president in 1960, and chief executive officer in 1966. Under his guidance, the company became one of America's most successful manufacturing concerns.
Hooker Furniture became a leader in developing successful niches such as wall units, bookcases, home office and home entertainment centers. Clyde Hooker served as chairman of the Dallas Market Center Advisory Board, the Advisory Board of the Atlanta Merchandise Mart, Director Emeritus of the American Furniture Manufacturers Association, and provided substantial contributions of time and money to the Home Furnishings Council and the High Point University Furniture Program. He received the James T. Ryan award from AFMA in 1985 and The Pillar of Industry award from IHFRA in 1977.
|Robert Obediah Huffman (1890-1978)
Robert Obediah Huffman, the son of one of the founders of Drexel-Heritage Furnishings, joined his father at Drexel Knitting Mill directly after graduation from the University of North Carolina. Rob Huffman was chosen president of Phi Beta Kappa for his intellect and tapped for membership in The Golden Fleece for his demonstrated leadership. He became president of Drexel in 1935 and served until 1965. This was a period of growth and expansion as Drexel acquired Heritage Furniture, Morganton Furniture and Southern Desk. Sales grew from $7 million to about $29 million; profits grew from $230,700 to $1,800,000. Drexel became the nation's most highly recognized furniture brand name. Mr. Huffman credited Drexel's success to its employees, saying this esprit de corps was known as "Drexelitis."
He served as president of Drexel Knitting Mills and Huffman Hosiery Company, and as officer and director of several banks, companies and associations.
Sam J. Ervin, Jr., U.S. Senator from North Carolina, said in his introduction of Mr. Huffman to the Newcomen Society in 1963 ... "Rob Huffman is a man in whom a strong and honest mind, a compassionate and courageous heart, and a simple faith in God and man are blended in harmonious proportions. These attributes are exemplified in everything he thinks, says, or does. As a consequence, he is a genial companion, a true friend, a lover of his fellow man, an exemplary citizen, a devoted churchman, a dedicated free enterpriser, an enlightened industrialist, a hard fighter for causes he believes just, and withal a man of many graces, much humility, and a gentle spirit."
|Leo Jiranek (1900-1990)
The ''Dean of Furniture Designers," one of the Industry's first, and unrepentant freelancers, enjoyed 67 years in the business. Throughout his career, Jiranek contributed to more furn-iture companies than any other known designer, among them Magnavox, Thomasville, Ethan Allen, Kroehler, Heywood Wakefleld, The Lane Co., Bassett, Broyhill and Garrison. Born in Grand Rapids, a graduate engineer from Princeton, he was a past president and honorary lifetime member of the Grand Rapids Furniture Designers Association. He founded, wrote the constitution, and served as first president of the American Designers Institute (now Industrial Designers Society of America). In the 1960's, he founded and was president of the Jiranek School of Furniture Design and Technology in NYC which boasts many distinguished alumni. Known for his command, not only of technology and design but also marketing and merchandising acumen, he brought great subtleties to mass manufacture. Jiranek was awarded the degree of Doctor of Arts by Kendall College of Art & Design in 1984.
|Albert G. Juilfs (1891-1970)
Albert G. Juilfs was President, CEO, and a founder of Senco Products, Inc., President and Chairman of the Board emeritus. He was truly an inventive genius and pioneer. He built the industry's first fully somatic pneumatic upholstery stapling tool, replacing the manual tack hammer. The pneumatic stapler cut training time from months to days, increased productivity, lowered labor costs, and reduced the problem of finding skilled craftsmen. The industry no longer had to be limited by the skill of the "tack spitter". Perhaps the major benefit to business from this tool was the ability to raise quality standards.
As Juilfs developed new fastening technology, larger and more powerful tools were introduced for nearly every work station. During a lifetime that saw him acquire almost 100 patents, he changed and made an immense impact on the furniture industry. Through his ingenuity, Juilfs led the industry to realize the significant increases in productivity needed to keep United States furniture competitive in the world market. Research fellowships in wood construction were established by Juilfs at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
|J.Wade Kincaid (1910-1991)
J. Wade Kincaid was a quiet, perceptive, thoughtful gentleman, devoted to his wife and family, and proud of the company that bore his name.
He began in the factory early in life at Caldwell Furniture Company working with his father. He left school after tenth grade and worked through a series of jobs of increasing responsibility with several companies.
In 1946, he and his father built a small factory, making solid wood cedar chests and wardrobes. They continually put the profits back into the business so that it grew steadily. Even as the company expanded into bedroom and occasional furniture, Kincaid remained faithful to its specialty of solid wood construction.
Beginning in 1958, his company became one of the first in our industry to operate its own fleet of trucks to assure prompt, safe delivery of undamaged products. Most furniture manufacturers today follow this pattern.
The company, still under the guidance of Wade Kincaid, went public with an offering of stock in 1983. In 1988, it became a subsidiary of La-Z-Boy Chair Company and is today the nation's largest manufacturer of solid wood furniture. Everyone who knew Wade Kincaid cherishes his memory, and the industry still feels his presence.
|Edward M. Knabusch (1900-1988)
He began making doll furniture in his garage and soon converted to porch furniture, developing an adjustable chair which he sold retail through a store opened with his cousin Edward Shoemaker, and then began wholesaling. When a buyer suggested upholstering the adjustable wood chair, the cousins built their own plant In Morn, Ml to produce the first recliners.
It was the launch of an entirely new industry, as well as of the now $5OO million La-Z-Boy Chair Co. He was an Innovator who conveyorized early and invented tools and mechanisms for motion furniture. An outstanding marketing man, in a relatively short time he changed La-Z-Boy from an unknown phrase to a nationally recognized household name. He initiated one of the Industry's first employee benefit programs, and was also a man d his community, dedicating considerable time as well as funds to the YMCA, Mercy Hospital, housing for seniors and the handicapped, as well as his church.
|Peter Kroehler (1872-1950)
Born one of 13 children on a farm in Mound Prairie, MN, he put himself through summer school, night school and the Commercial Academy of Northwestern College where he was hired by a Naperville group to help run a small furniture business called the Naperville Lounge Co. There he kept books, called on customers, and delivered products to the railroad station By the time It became the Kroehler Co., he had developed and sold hand-tufted "Turkish Couches" (6 for $25); invented and patented davenport bed fixtures with hidden mattress and springs - the earliest dual-purpose furniture); Introduced a piecemeal system giving employees the opportunity to earn more money while controlling costs. Kroehler also Introduced national advertising and premium tie-ins (sofas and triple plated teapots). Organizer and first president of the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers, he also organized the American Furniture Man and Furniture Club of America. A man of deep compassion, he was one of the original founders of the Naperville YMCA.
|Edward Hudson Lane (1891-1973)
In 1912, at age 21, he bought a small Altavista, VA packing box plant at a bankruptcy auction. hired five employees and began producing 10 to 15 cedar chests a day. By 1922 the factory was capable of national distribution and Lane invested in the industry's first national advertising. Within 10 years, Lane cedar chests were a widely recognized brand name synonymous with "brides." An Industry pioneer, he was among the first to adopt conveyorized assembly lines as well as technology that utilized waste wood to produce particle board which provided strong. uniform, warp-resistant, cores. On the occasion of the company's 50th anniversary in 1962, Lane was honored by the American Newcomen Society for his "pioneering leadership, vision, determination and resourcefulness In creating a new business and building it into a successful corporate enterprise." At the time of his death in 1973, the enterprise employed over 5,000 people in 19 plants in Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi and Tennessee.
|Hyman Meyers (1911-)
Hyman Meyers, along with his brother, Sidney, and brother-in-law, Nathaniel Krumbein, pioneered the business strategies and philosophies that guided Heilig- Meyers in becoming one of the most successful publicly held retail furniture companies in the United States. Heilig-Meyers was founded in 1913 by Hyman's father, J. M. and his uncle, W. A. Heilig. In 1934, Hyman
became manager of the Wilson, NC store. After receiving the Bronze Star Medal as an Air Force Captain during World War II, he returned to Heilig-Meyers in 1946 as the company's general manager. In 1951, Heilig-Meyers moved its headquarters to Richmond, VA, and in 1965, Mr. Meyers became president of the company.
Under Hyman's guidance, Heilig-Meyers became a public company in 1972, and in 1983, Heilig-Meyers' stock was listed for trading on the New York Stock Exchange. He served as chairman of the Board and chief executive officer until he retired from active employment with the company in 1984. He continues to serve as a member of the board of directors. When Mr. Meyers became president in 1965, sales were approximately $5.3 million with 14 stores. In 1993, sales were approximately $549.7 million with 425 stores.
Mr. Meyers has been actively involved with various industry related organizations throughout his career. He has been on the boards of the National Retail Furniture Association and the Southern Retail Furniture Association (now the National Home Furnishings Association and the Southern Home Furnishings Association). He also served as president of NRFA, and in 1969, he received the prestigious John Willis, Jr. Award of Merit.
|Patrick Norton (1922-)
Patrick H. Norton, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for La-Z-Boy Chair Company, has always been a man of action...and results. Following his graduation from Washington University in St. Louis, he began a career in furniture retailing which was interrupted by five years in the U. S. Air Force. After 33 combat missions, he received the Distinguished Service Medal, the Distinguished Flying Cross with Cluster, and the Air Medal with two Clusters.
Pat returned to furniture retailing and later became vice president of sales and a member of the board of Baumritter/Ethan Allen. In 1981 he became senior vice president and a member of the La-Z-Boy Board of Directors.
During his tenure, the company has grown by a factor of ten. Sales in 1981 were $155 million; sales this year are expected to exceed one billion. Mr. Norton built "La-Z-Boy" into the most recognized name brand within our industry.
Pat has served on the board of the American Furniture Manufacturers Association and on the liaison committee with the National Home Furnishings Association. As the first Home Furnishings Council chairman, he worked tirelessly to unite retailers, manufacturers and suppliers behind the effort.
Mr. Norton served as vice chairman of the American Legion Department of Missouri and has been a member of the National Jr. American Legion Baseball Commission, for ten years as state chairman producing three state champions and sending two teams to the national finals.
|Hampton Powell (b1911-)
Known as an industry statesman, Hampton Powell's distinguished career spanned more than 56 years of tireless service to the furniture industry. He moved up steadily In the Lane , becoming president in 1956 and chairman in 1976.
Under his leadership, the company became a diversified manufacturer, expanding into broad product lines and acquiring upholstered furniture manufacturers whose company names and product quality complemented Lane's casegood lines,
He made himself a leader within the furniture manufacturing family, serving on the board of the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association for many years and shouldering numerous responsibilities on behalf of the industry.
It was "Hamp" who was most often chosen to represent furniture manufacturers In Washington. DC where he pleaded our cause with patience, persistence and persuasiveness. His indefatigable efforts as chairman of the association's Government Relations Committee addressed industry concerns such as upholstered furniture flammability regulations and wood dust regulation.
He received the James T. Ryan award for outstanding service to the Industry in 1974. In 1987 he was honored by UFAC with the "Dali" Award as "Industry Champion" for his efforts to avoid costly federal flammability regulations.
Noted for his seven-day work weeks at his company, Powell still found time to serve his community, his church, and the furniture Industry. His constant quest for excellence at all levels of endeavor set a standard for quality that will endure both in the company and In the Industry.
|Amos Giles Rhodes (1850-1928)
Amos Giles Rhodes founded the Rhodes Furniture Group. He first arrived in war ravaged Atlanta in 1875 with total capital of $75 in cash. a gold watch, and a horse and buggy. He considered himself lucky because many people had much less.
He began to manufacture and sell picture frames. Although people wanted to buy them, they had little money. So he adapted his selling technique to fit the
prevailing economic conditions and created a market among the poor. Rather than grant straight credit, he agreed to a small weekly payment and combined collection routes with his selling routes. The plan was an instant success and buying on the installment plan was born.
He then moved into home furnishings with the first Rhodes furniture store opening in the fall of 1875. From this simple but ingenious beginning, Rhodes Furniture has grown to a 75 unit chain of stores in ten Southeastern states. The stores' continuing acceptance and growth is due in no small part to practicing the principles established by Mr. Rhodes: give the public reliability, service and quality.
Rhodes established the A.G. Rhodes Home for older people, which still exists. He strongly supported numerous civic and charitable organizations and was a strong supporter of the Christian Church in Atlanta.
|Joseph E. Richardson II (1929-)
When Joseph E. Richardson II joined the fifth generation family business, Richardson Brothers Company, in the early 1950's, they were Wisconsin's leading manufacturer of dining room seating. Joe II became president in 1962. His degree in economics from Beloit College was an asset as he began a long-range plan to diversify product and to distribute nationwide.
Joe Richardson became famous for his national ads which showed him proudly standing on an inverted dining room chair...a testimony to the quality of Richardson furniture.
He became an effective leader of the industry beginning in 1984 with his election to the Board of Directors of the American Furniture Manufacturers Association. During the next decade, he served as president and chairman of AFMA.
Joe Richardson II is a past trustee of the Jiranek School of Furniture Design and past executive committee member of the Home Furnishings Council during its formative years. His contributions and strengths as a founding director of the American Furniture Hall of Fame, president, and secretary treasurer were developed during his award-winning civic work in historic preservation of buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
|Lawrence K. Schnadig (1908-1997)
An early developer of sleep sofa mechanisms. Schnadig was also among the first upholstery manufacturers to establish an in-house quality control laboratory which later led to industry quality performance standards. He served his industry well during crisis times as president of the National Association of Furniture Manufacturers.
In the 1940's and during World War II as head of the Consumer Durables Division of the War Production Board. In the post war years, with Sears as a partner, he acquired half interest In International Furniture Company and Karpen, eventually buying out the retail giant and establishing the Schnadig Corporation of today. At age 80. he could be found overseeing production on the floor of one of Schnadig's upholstered furniture plants. He served on the Board of Governors of Chicago's American Furniture Mart and as head of its Marketing Committee. responsible for establishing furniture market dates.
|Edwin Shoemaker (1907-)
As CO-founder of La-Z-Boy Chair Company, Edwin Shoemaker provided the engineering expertise that evolved into the world famous La-Z-Boy chair. Back in 1927 when he and his cousin, Edward M. Knabusch, borrowed the money to start the business, no one could have imagined the heights to which the motion chair business has risen.
Edwin Shoemaker is an inventor, acquiring his first patent for a band saw guide in 1925. His engineering genius brought the mass production methods of Detroit's automotive industry into the upholstery plant, He planned and designed the manufacturing facility that opened in November, 1941. Production was 85 chairs per day from a factory with 24,000 square feet of floor space.
Today, total floor space has expanded to well over 5,000,000 square feet, with 8,000 employees in nine states. Shoemaker had a hand in the design and construction of every La-Z-Boy plant.
Shoemaker was among the first to project the physical properties of recliners as a science. If there were such a thing as the "'Father of Motion Furniture," he would be a candidate for that title.
As a trustee for the La-Z-Boy Chair Foundation since 1953, his philanthropy has touched hospitals, schools, libraries, museums, and a host of religious programs.
|Charles Sligh (1850-1927)
Charles Sligh was the founder, president, and general manager of Sligh Furniture Company of Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1880. At the time of his death in 1927, it was the largest manufacturer of bedroom furniture in the world employing nearly 1 ,500 workers.
He pioneered the idea of producing matching moderately priced bedroom furniture in suites as opposed to the then current practice of one company specializing in beds, another bureaus, and so on.
Mr. Sligh was the leader of his time in global thinking. He traveled to Honduras in 1883 and established the Honduras Mahogany Company as a source for mahogany. He broke a cartel of U.S. importers of German mirror and glass in 1890, when they restricted his supply, by traveling to Europe and finding other manufacturers ... to the benefit of the entire industry.
Mr. Sligh had a profound sense of civic and industry responsibility. He ran for governor of the State of Michigan in 1896; was a member of the commission which drafted the first Workman's Compensation Act for Michigan in 1912; and was elected to the
Michigan State Senate in 1922. He was president of the National Furniture Manufacturers Association, president of the Grand Rapids Furniture Manufacturers Association, and a director of the National Association of Manufacturers.
|"Gustav Stickley (1857-1942)
"Gustav Stickley is entitled to the distinction of having originated ... the one distinctively American school of design." (from Furniture Styles, 1909).
Mr. Stickley was the leader of the American arts and crafts movement at the turn of the century, he pioneered the honesty and simplicity of the mission style of furniture at his Craftsman Workshops.
The workshops also produced cabinet work, rush seats, leather products, metal hardware, lamps and needlework from 1900 to 1916. Gustav's brothers, Leopold and John George, continued the Stickley factories until 1974 when the Audi family bought the L.&J.G. Stickley Company. Today, Gustav Stickley's original designs have been re-issued by that company.
He founded the Craftsman Farms, where his philosophy and lifestyle were practiced and shared. As publisher and editor of the monthly Craftsman Magazine, Stickley showed entire house plans with all the furnishings needed to complete them. Architectural drawings were sent to the readers free of charge. Craftsman homes sprang up around the country. More homes meant the sale of more furniture.
As Americans in the 1 990's have rediscovered the value of home and family, furniture manufacturers have drawn upon the designs of Gustav Stickley and his contemporaries. The prolific reproduction of his designs by today's manufacturers is a testament to his craftsman style and contribution to the industry. His furniture may be seen at major museums through the country.
|Charles Fawcett Tomlinson (1871-1943)
Charles Fawcett Tomlinson was a leading pioneer builder of the furniture industry. Beginning in 1904, at the age of 33, he became secretary-treasurer of Tomlinson Chair Manufacturing Company.
Armed with a degree in philosophy from the University of North Carolina and a law degree, Mr. Tomlinson, early in his business career, began to see the advantages of organizing the industry as a whole. In 1913, he helped organize the Southern Furniture Exposition Building and was elected its first president. He held this office until 1923 and was chairman of the Executive Committee until his death.
As president of the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association during 1916-1923, an economically trying period, he called a meeting of 400 furniture industry representatives that formed the National Council of Furniture Manufacturers ... he was elected its first president.
Charles Tomlinson, and his brother, Sidney Halstead, saw their business grow from 25 workmen to over 700 employees occupying over 13 acres of floor space.
In 1916, they began designing matching dining and living room suites. In this innovation, they were among the first to sense the broadening of American tastes. They began working with period furniture in 18th century French, English, and American tradition. Their Williamsburg Gallery was a first to display furniture in room settings ... a method that affected the whole industry. The Tomlinson furniture factory complex is entered in the National Register of Historical Places, now called Market Square.
|Parks C. Underdown (1902-1981)
A man of broad vision, innate resourcefulness and strong entrepreneurial spirit, Parks C. Underdown was the founder and prime mover of a company that is today one of the nation's largest integrated suppliers of components to the furniture industry.
The company Underdown founded, Hickory Springs Manufacturing Company, was launched in 1944 as a small producer of coiled springs for area furniture companies. That company has grown and expanded and today operates across the United States with over sixty locations in 17 states. It provides hundreds of companies from coast to coast with a broad spectrum of products and services ranging from polyurethane foam, motion mechanisms and polyester fiber to furniture supplies, sleeper mechanisms and automated wood carving.
Even more important than his role as the founder of a large, successful company, was the role Underdown played in helping to restructure and give new impetus to the furniture supply industry. He was a primary force in helping to reposition this support industry that had long been characterized by small "Mom and Pop", single product operations to one that, today, features large, well-managed companies offering multiple product lines. These larger companies are more sharply focused on the needs of the furniture industry and, because of economies of scale, can more efficiently and cost effectively meet the requirements of their customers. Throughout his long career, Underdown remained ever alert to opportunities to quickly meet the changing needs of the marketplace, to introduce new products and technology, and to expand the capabilities of the furniture supply industry.
|Thomas Wrenn (1860-1940)
Thomas Wrenn can correctly claim the title of trailblazer of the furniture industry in the south. He and John H. Tate formed the High Point Furniture Company in 1888 and built the first furniture plant in High Point. It was successful from the start, and paid its first cash dividend in 1889. Of course, it spawned many imitators. In ten years, there were twelve competitors in High Point alone.
Mr. Wrenn ran his company with distinction for the next 50 years. Years later, Mr. Wrenn liked to recall that the High Point Furniture Company was in business when Coxey's army marched through High Point en route to Washington during the panic of 1890.
In less than 15 years, the managers saw an obvious need for furniture showrooms near their factories. Mr. Wrenn was instrumental in opening the first High Point Exposition Company in 1902, and the Furniture Manufacturers Exposition Company in 1903. The success of these efforts resulted in the erection of the ten-story Southern Furniture Exposition Building in 1921, in which Tom Wrenn also actively participated. That structure has grown into the magnificent International Home Furnishings Center, and the global furniture market which now surrounds it in and near High Point.
Tom Wrenn was the first of a race of giants. Without them, there would be no Furniture Hall of Fame today. From the concentration of manufacturing in North Carolina, Virginia and Tennessee to the International Home Furnishings Market, his impact is there.
|J. Smith Young: (born 1917)
J. Smith Young's career began more than fifty years ago, when, as a teenager, he worked summers at Dixie Furniture Com-pany which was founded by his uncle, Henry T. Link. Mr. Young attended Wake Forest University, receiving a Bachelor of Science in Economics. His furniture career was interrupted by a four-year tour of duty in the Navy. After training at Harvard University, Mr. Young's service on board a destroyer included several invasions, after which he returned to Lexington and employment at Dixie.
In 1950, Mr. Young became the vice president of sales and in the following years helped establish Link-Taylor Corporation, Young-Hinkle Corporation and Henry Link Corporation, all separate but related companies. Over the years, Mr. Young became both chairman and president of Dixie and Henry Link, as well as executive vice president of Link-Taylor and Young Hinkle.
He has taken a position of leadership in the furniture industry as a chairman of the Southern Furniture Manufacturers Association, receiving the prestigious James T. Ryan Award in 1983. Mr. Young headed the Furniture Factories Marketing Association, and the board of governors of both the Dallas Market Center and the Atlanta Merchandise Mart.
Mr. Young has had an impact on the residential furniture industry like few others, through creative merchandising concepts, close working relationships with leading retailers, new manufacturing techniques, and strength in distribution, merchandising.