High Point, North Carolina is known as the furniture capital of the world. The High Point Furniture Market is the largest furnishings industry trade show in the world that brings $2.7 billion dollars to the local economy each year. The beginnings of the furniture industry began after the Civil War when the farming landscape of the South began to change and cheap labor became available in the Reconstruction Era of our country.
The High Point furniture industry gained momentum in the late 19th century because of its location, transportation, and cheap labor. By 1900, 13 furniture factories were opened in High Point which led to other type of manufacturing companies setting up shop to provide related products such as veneers, plate glass, mirrors, and paint to furniture companies.
Originally retail store owners had to visit a factory to select their orders and with the development mass marketing catalogues the High Point furniture manufacturers began planning for exposition to display and sell their product to the public which became known as the High Point Furniture Market. The furniture industry and developing textile manufacturing became a national economic indicator for the 20th century growth booms. By 1959, North Carolina had become the state employing the most number of people in the furniture industry. Barnes Custom Upholstery began during the golden age of the furniture industry in High Point in 1974 using hand crafted and time tested quality methods that are still in use in our shop today.
Throughout the end of the 20th century, North Carolina continued to lead the nation in the production of both upholstered and wooden household furniture. The majority of furniture manufacturers modified their products to be mass produced, slightly styled, and inexpensive, to meet the needs of all income levels but it lost its regional characteristics of the artisans that created unique and high quality wooden products.
The globalization of the 1990's opened free trade and competition from foreign furniture manufacturers. US companies, unable to compete, began outsourcing to Latin America and Asia. China became the leading manufacturer by producing furniture of equal quality at a lower price. The majority of furniture companies in North Carolina have continued to close since the 1990's. The furniture makers such as Barnes Custom Upholstery, who have maintained a high quality product made from solid wood continue to maintain a unique niche and are sold in the United States to designer and retailers all across the country.
Barnes Custom Upholstery is proud to say we’re “Made in America” and carry on North Carolina’s tradition of crafting fine furniture by the hands of people who carry forward what would otherwise be a dying art. When you partner with Barnes, you’re tapping into the history of craftsmanship and style that makes the South distinctive - and making it your own.