The Book Shelf

Alison Johnston General

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Last year I read the book Factory Man by Beth Macy. Her book chronicles the collapse of the furniture industry in Virginia and the Carolinas and one man’s attempt to save his company and his town. As someone who relies on the furniture industry to make our designs great, I was fascinated by her story.


Beth Macy explored the fight by John Bassett to keep manufacturing in his town and not lose it to the Chinese who could come in with cheaper labor (and cheaper materials.)

Author Beth Macy

At this past High Point Market I had the pleasure of visiting some of these furniture factories, where they still make everything by hand. They cut the wood for the frames, they hand tie the springs and attach the webbing. The cushion fills are made to your specifications, and they take extraordinary care of the fabric you selected.  You have a custom hand made piece.

Chair parts

Chair frames

Upholstery work

You pay a bit more. But in return you get a piece that lasts. (I am still using and reupholstering my grandmother’s settee.)  You get high quality materials without suspect chemicals. And Americans are keeping their jobs. We can all feel good about buying ‘Made in America.’ Tom Hanks is producing the mini series for HBO. Check it out!

Tom Hanks, starring in and producing the movie for HBO