Furniture makers heavy with American workers on their payrolls
getting revenge on globalization these days. Call it "payback time."
Furniture companies that have recently fired their American workers for
low-cost wages in China are scrambling.
The SARS epidemic in China is slamming furniture makers that
heavily depend on that country as a source for filling furniture
in America. Although China still accounts for under 15% of the furniture
sold here, some companies such as Pulaski, Va., based Pulaski Furniture
import half of their furniture from the communist country. Hooker
of Martinsville, Va., imports over 50% of its furniture from China.
What are the brands to look for if you want to buy "Made in USA?
Century Furniture of Hickory, NC, makes 95% of its furniture
and Mitchell Gold of Taylorsville, NC, boasts that all of its furniture
made in the USA!
Because of the SARS epidemic, Furniture Brands International
St. Louis - maker of Thomasville, Lane and Broyhill - have yanked all
American employees out of China, shelved travel plans to China, and have
left quality control in the hands of the locals. However, Pulaski
president and chief executive John Wampler says "it's just not
viable to move it back here," when asked about returning production to
America. Hot sellers for Pulaski such as the Antiques Roadshow line are
already facing delivery delays of six to nine months.
Furniture makers like Century that have bucked the trend of
imports have begun fastening American flags on the inside of their
drawers. Touting the "Made in USA" slogan is nothing new to
however. John Bassett III says his 102-year-old company has been
"Proudly Made in America by Americans" stickers on his furniture for
Furniture companies that have resisted globalization and kept
their American workers on the assembly line instead of the unemployment
are finally starting to reap the rewards of their patriotic decisions.
sweet it is.