Though North Carolina has welcomed the recent arrival of a certain Scandinavian furniture mecca, the state has a rich history as the “Furniture Capital of the World.” Patricia Phillips Marshall, coauthor of Thomas Day: Master Craftsman and Free Man of Color, provides an entry in the Encyclopedia of North Carolina that gives a brief account of the furniture boom and its recent hardships in North Carolina.
The online NCpedia, maintained by the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources, offers an excerpt from Marshall’s Encyclopedia article, accompanied by a great slideshow that provides an inside view of yesteryear’s furniture factories. She writes about the marketing strategy that led North Carolina to become a national leader in furniture making:
…Cities such as New York and Chicago became national exhibition sites where manufacturers displayed their products and took orders. Furniture dealers and buyers visited these halls at least twice a year, viewing a variety of lines from across the country. North Carolina manufacturers brought the concept home to High Point and eventually created the largest marketing center for home furnishings in the world. On 20 June 1921 the Southern Furniture Exposition, Inc., opened a ten-story building in High Point, complete with 249,600 square feet of exhibition space. Over two weeks, 700 dealers viewed 149 exhibits, and sales came close to $2.25 million.
To continue reading and see the slideshow, you can visit the NCpedia website.