Last week I spent two days at Hickory Chair University in Hickory, North Carolina. Hickory Chair Company hosts its vendors 10 times a year to educate them on their products and what an education it is! Laura Holland and Jay Reardon are the most gracious and welcoming hosts. We toured the factories for two days and learned more than I could have imagined.
The quality of the product is bar none. I love the comparison photo below of the solid hardwood frame and the pressed plywood frame. This says it ALL. It certainly compels me to sell my clients a higher quality product for slightly more money that will become a family heirloom and an antique. The pressed plywood frame may appear all the same until it begins to fall apart once it needs to be reupholstered. Each and every piece is made to order to the most exacting standards. I have never witnessed such attention to detail as I did in these factory tours. The plant itself is immaculate and pristine. The organization is beyond anything I could dream of. I need Hickory Chair to come reorganize my business and my life.
Hickory Chair has changed its esthetics over the past 20 years to make itself more current in style. They were previously known for 18th Century reproductions. These designs are in no way trendy but, updated classics. The designers such as Alexa Hampton and Suzanne Kasler have outdone themselves with unique styles that have become Hickory Chair trademark items. The quatrefoil chair by Suzanne Kasler is one of my favorites. The beauty of this that you can take these designs and still personalize them to suit your whim.
Hickory Chair truly cares about each and every employee, customer, the community and the world. They work to lower their carbon footprint while ensuring the most enjoyable work environment possible. The factory has a "Zen" feeling as coined by a fellow university attendee. They have gone to great lengths to train the entire company in "lean" manufacturing while ensuring no corners are ever cut.
"Reardon explains that the company is doing EDGE (Employees Dedicated to Growth and Excellence). It’s not lean manufacturing or the renowned Toyota Production System (TPS). “It is the Hickory Chair business system,” Reardon said. “It is a business system that engages employees to make their work safer and easier so that our customers can be sitting comfortably in the chair or sofa they order in their house.” EDGE has led to shorter cycle times, reduced waste, higher quality and faster product shipment." VIA
Enjoy my photo tour with Hickory Chair.
I could write a book on my University experience but it boils down to…Quality, Craftsmanship, Design, and Efficiency.
Thank you again to Jay, Laura, Nathan and all of those at Hickory Chair for your true southern hospitality. It certainly did not go unnoticed. I will forever be a cheerleader for you.
GO USA and HICKORY CHAIR!