Only six weeks after sustaining extensive damage from a fire on January 22, restoration of Harden Furniture’s 200 N. Hamilton showroom in High Point is complete. The case goods and upholstery manufacturer is eager to show off their new and improved showroom, which is also the setting for the launch of the company’s most recent environmental initiative, the “Living Canopy Project.”
The January electrical fire started in a storage area in the Harden showroom only hours before the company was to participate in the High Point Design Center’s Third Annual Winter Event. Smoke destroyed most of the furniture and accessories in the showroom, as well as the carpet, walls, floors, phone systems, computers and other infrastructure. Other exhibitors in 200 N. Hamilton sustained damage, but none as extensive as Harden. No one was injured in the blaze.
Beth Penley, vice president of design, Harden Furniture, along with Harden showroom managers Martha Lee Marvin and Jamie Glenn, have worked days, nights and weekends since the fire to ensure that the showroom will be ready for market. In less than seven weeks, the space has been gutted down to the cinderblock walls, and all of the flooring, drywall and ceilings replaced. Extensive upgrades have also been made to the electric and telecommunications systems.
In addition to the extensive repairs, Harden has made several improvements to the showroom, such as, higher ceilings and walls in several galleries, a reorganized layout that improves traffic flow and efficiency, new climate control systems, and new flooring and sisal carpet. A fresh coat of paint and a few other finishing touches, and “…the Harden showroom is spiffy, fresh and ready for the convoy of trucks rolling in this week,” says Penley. “This just goes to show what determination and a common goal can do,” she adds.
Lisa Shankle, leasing and property manager for Hamilton Properties, which manages the 200 N. Hamilton building, says, “Beth [Penley] and everyone associated with the Harden staff have been amazing. This has been a daunting task, especially during the initial emotionally numbing weeks. Harden has not only finished in plenty of time for market; they have done an amazing job with the restoration. The showroom just looks beautiful.” Harden Furniture was the building’s first tenant more than 30 years ago.
In addition to preparing the showroom for market traffic, Harden is launching the “Living Canopy Project” initiative from there on Tuesday, March 27, beginning at 5:00 p.m. A specially commissioned metal sculpture created by acclaimed Greensboro artist Brian Hibbard will be prominently displayed in the showroom during market and then raffled off on Friday, March 30. Tickets will be available in the showroom throughout market for $10 each. Proceeds from the “Living Canopy Project” will fund the restoration of a derelict property in Upstate New York, with the help of students from Camden High School, Camden, N.Y., and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) in Syracuse, N.Y.
About Harden Furniture: As one of the only furniture manufacturers in the world that owns the forests from which its products are made, Harden is dedicated to managing the 20,000 acres of forested land it controls responsibly. The company was the furniture manufacturer to gain certification by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), a national program that requires strict adherence to a stringent set of harvesting procurement guidelines and practices that ensure the protection of wildlife, maintain high water quality standards and a range of other conservation goals. Greg Harden, president and CEO, is the fifth generation of the Harden family to lead the company. Former New York governor George Pataki appointed Greg Harden to the New York State Environmental Board in December in recognition of Harden’s long-standing commitment to sustainability and the environment.
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