Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Our education at Hickory Chair: more than just making furniture

Of course we are impressed with the quality of furniture made by Hickory Chair, but what we learned about running a business was just as impressive.  The signage in the photo was one of many found throughout the factory---put up by the employees.  Their program, called "EDGE" is the big reason for their great attitude and working environment.  You just don't always see such positive words in a workplace.  If you want to know more about EDGE, click HERE for the webpage. 

Now, follow us through the factory (this is only a very brief section):

Hickory Chair employees doing finer sanding. 

The inside of Hickory Chair's drawers are solid oak, because of it's strength. 

This employee is applying one step of the finishing process for this table. 

Who would have thought a furniture factory would have the woodworking area in the same building as the upholstery. They are a floor apart, but even at that, the sophisticated ventilation allows the employees to work without a face mask.

This is how Hickory Chair furniture acquires the inlaid designs.

We really enjoyed seeing how the employees were so careful with each detail they were working on for the day.  They are not doing exactly the same thing everyday, however, but skilled at several jobs to prevent carpal tunnel problems and just boredom!  It also increases productivity when employees can move to another job when they're done with one.

Another thing we noticed was how well acquainted the president, Jay Reardon, is with all the employees.  You can tell he enjoys knowing them, personally.  It was a surprise that he was along on our tour of the factory, both days, and jumped in several times to talk to us about workflow and how their EDGE program played a part in their saving of time and money.  Here's a photo of him below:

Jay Reardon, president of Hickory Chair

One more photo from the woodworking part of the Hickory Chair factory that  you might relate to, that is if you have furniture with a carved leg:

Hickory Chair employee/artisan setting up the machine to carve furniture legs
This machine was duplicating the movements of the operator on each piece of wood.  It was basically carving about a dozen or more legs at one time, but following the lead of the man in charge. 

We'll get into the upholstery department and details on the next blog post.  I have about 30 more photos of the woodworking area, but what we want our customers to see is the atmosphere at Hickory Chair.  The workplace is such a positive place, and you can see the pride the employees take in their job.  It's certainly not a "factory", but more of a working studio for their artistic work. 

Now you are asking why you should care, besides the great quality we think you should also feel pride when you purchase a piece of Hickory Chair furniture.  Buying products produced in the USA is important to all of us. 

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