Today I am so pleased to have my friend Laura Holland, from the incredible company Hickory Chair, joining us for my All-American series. And just as the gals from Merida mentioned in Saturday’s post, Hickory Chair is one of the companies really revitalizing the idea of “Made in America”. Kudos to Hickory Chair and a big thank you to Laura and Hickory Chair president Jay Reardon for all they do for this important initiative! Here’s Laura..
For 100 years Hickory Chair has made fine furniture to order in its single Hickory, North Carolina workroom. After all these years we are proud that almost 90% of our entire product line is made here by hand. Meeting great talents like Tobi Fairley give us the opportunity to make one of a kind pieces that we know will have a wonderful home. We are honored that Tobi has given us the opportunity to share our story today with you. Shown is Tobi and Jay Reardon, President of Hickory Chair together in the Hickory Chair Showroom.
In 1911 the Hickory Chair Manufacturing Company was created with one single style of dining chair. The original start-up company moved from Surry county where it was known as the Surry Chair Company and the name was simply changed to Hickory. In the years that passed, this small dining chair company soon became a full service manufacturer of both upholstered and wood furniture. Shown left is our very first chair. A simple form but well made to stand the test of time. This picture was shared with us by Jill in Sacramento, California. She inherited her set of chairs from her grandparents.
With determination and skill, the Hickory Chair Manufacturing Company survived the depression, world wars, and other events that caused companies less adaptable to change to fail. In 2001 a new type of challege faced the furniture world… the influx of offshore manufacturing and the recession after 9/11. This legacy of overcoming obstacles reached new heights with these events. Our craftsmen not only embraced lean manufacturing but also personalization. It is their determination to cut the waste from the process of making furniture along with the desire to make one of a kind pieces that transformed the company. We became the company that talented designers like Tobi needed us to be. Our craftsmen learned that if we can personalize a piece to make it special for the home then we add value.
In these past 10 years our product offering as gone through a metamorphasis. We can transform a chair into a sofa. We can make a swivel chair from a stationary chair. A table can be a dining table, console, cocktail or side table by the inch in width and height. We can apply a custom paint finish to match the color in your room. We will apply your hardware. Our craftsmen love the challenge of one of a kind requests. We try to say yes to every request.
Over the years that we have known Tobi she has honored us with opportunities to make special pieces for her clients. We look forward with each new request to make one of a kind heirlooms. Some of our favorite rooms by Tobi are posted on our blog, Made By Hickory Chair.
You can see how she appreciated the scale, fine proportion and lines of this reproduction chest from the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. Her vision for her room gave us the opportunity to make her chest in a combination of Kohl finish, a black stain, with Antique Ivory drawer fronts and Antique Silver Customer’s Own HardwareTM instead of the glossy brass reproduction hardware that was standard on our chest. As long as we have the opportunity to make special pieces like this chest for Tobi, we know we will enjoy a long and prosperous future making furniture in Hickory, North Carolina.