In High Point, North Carolina, they’re proud of their furniture-making history.
If you had any doubt, just take a quick drive down North Hamilton Street, where you can get a picture in front of the “World’s Largest Chest of Drawers.”
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They’ve been making furniture in High Point for over one hundred years. The city’s location between North Carolina’s rich hardwood forests and transportation infrastructure made it an ideal location for manufacturing furniture. Add to that mix an influx of affordable labor following a farming depression in the 1890s, and you’ve got the makings of a flourishing new industry.
Since then, the city has become known as the “Home Furnishings Capital of the World” with dozens of manufacturers flocking to tap into the city’s pool of talent.
One of those companies is Hightower, a workplace furniture design firm founded in 2003. Hightower makes office furniture that is as functional as it is sleek. You’ll find many of their pieces in Convene properties around the country, selected by our design team for their beauty and functionality.
“The materiality of Hightower’s pieces are what makes them so special,” says Maiata Carlton, interior designer for Convene. “It’s a design aesthetic that is both elegant and approachable. It’s not so modern that it alienates users, but not so traditional as to be boring. They’re the perfect fit for Convene spaces.”
Step inside Hightower’s production facility in North Carolina and you might be surprised by what you don’t see: no conveyer belts or massive automated machinery. As far as factory floors go, it’s relatively quiet and peaceful. Instead, what you see are people—craftspeople, skillfully piecing together the furniture by hand.
At a bank of sewing machines, seamstresses deftly stitch together fabric for chairs that will be shipped to offices all over the country—Microsoft, Target HQ, Google, and more. At another station, workers stuff the fabric with foam and shape it around the raw material inside the furniture. Carts with finished pieces are pushed to the packing area and carefully readied for shipping.
All this is done by hand and carefully inspected before it leaves for the customer. The team can look up every person who worked on a piece in the facility to correct even the tiniest details. Corrections are few and far between, though. There’s an incredible level of pride amongst individual workers and the community at large for the quality of work they produce. Many of the people here have worked together for decades, long before Hightower came to town. They know it’s this level of craftsmanship that keeps manufacturers coming to High Point.