Hickory, North Carolina can trace its furniture history back to the earliest part of the twentieth century when a young merchant by the name of George W. Hall along with an entrepreneurial group of local businessmen and bankers began building furniture in Hickory.
For years southern lumber had been shipped to furniture factories up north and in 1901 it was this group of businessmen who identified that the vast selection of lumber resources available in the Catawba Valley region should be utilized to produce furniture locally. Hickory Furniture Company was the area’s first furniture factory to be created. George W. Hall successfully managed and operated this plant and within a year also helped start up Martin Furniture Company, the town’s second successful furniture manufacturing facility.
The native trade routes along the rivers provided a natural passage by which designers and craftsmen traveled to the Catawba Valley region with ease. Because there was no unionization in the furniture industry, these talented and skilled experts were greeted by an enthusiastic labor force in the foothills of North Carolina who were willing to be trained in this exceptional trade.
More and more furniture plants started to emerge and after surviving the era of the Great Depression, the furniture industry exploded at the end of World War II. Returning military veterans pursued jobs that enabled them to build new homes and fill these homes with new furniture for their families. Many Hickory area companies grew and split off to form new companies while generation after generation of craftsmen followed in the business of designing and making furniture. Hickory and the Catawba Valley region soon became known as the furniture capital of the world.
In 1960 a second industry arose when a handful of furniture manufacturers gathered for the first time to display their products to retail dealers. This wholesale exhibition was held on the site of what is now known as Hickory Furniture Mart and the Mart became the hub of the wholesale furniture exhibition, which continued to thrive in Hickory for many years.
In 1985 the Lail family decided to open its doors, which were previously only open to the wholesale industry, to the public for the very first time. Hickory Furniture Mart transitioned into the nation’s leading home furnishings resource and in 2010 proudly celebrated its 50th anniversary with their customers, tenants, manufacturers, vendors, and countless friends within the furniture industry.
Today Hickory Furniture Mart’s expansive 4 – level complex offers the most diverse selection of furniture and home furnishings under one roof. You will find affordable high quality furniture with discounts up to 60-70% off most retail prices. Browse through countless collections to satisfy any style preference or work with one of our design professionals during your visit. The Mart houses 100 factory outlets, showrooms and galleries, representing nearly 1,000 of the most popular and recognizable brands within the furniture industry in addition to a locally owned coffeehouse and gourmet café.
Post time: 08-15-2017