When Mike Mebane took over the reigns of Linwood Furniture as CEO, he found an industry in reverse gear: Manufacturers and retailers alike in the process of re-discovering not only the advantages but the competitive value of domestic production.
“There is a significant macro economic shift that is creating a new supply chain model requiring supply partners to be closer to dealers and to literally shift gears in response to market demands,” Mebane says. “Energy costs are rising, international labor costs are rising, shipping costs are rising and currency fluctuations are routine.
“Domestic production makes new business sense to ensure a reliable supply chain, particularly as we emerge from the recession and retail dealers find that they need product quickly. At Linwood, we want to leverage the tightening business model as a highly nimble resource focused on the needs and wants of the consumer and as a manufacturer well equipped to meet the constantly changing demands of the marketplace.”
These shifts in the marketplace, he says, have opened new opportunities for Linwood to attract new investors, new channels of distribution, and experienced industry executives that will broaden and deepen its business model.
Mebane grew up in Old Emerywood of High Point, surrounded by furniture and textiles families. For many years he worked for industry leading public chemical fibers company UNIFI, Inc. (NYSE:UFI) as the company grew from $350 million to over $1.7 billion in sales. His positions included director of industrial engineering, vice president of strategic planning, vice president of international operations, division president and a member of the company’s executive committee. Mebane has worked in 25 nations throughout the world, and as a consultant he has helped a number of large and small companies through challenging periods.
Mebane’s goals for Linwood are clear cut. “We have the opportunity to become known for customization of our products and of our finishes, and for providing short runs when quick delivery is needed,” Mebane says. “We want to augment the global supply footprint as we strengthen national distribution and expand our dealer base.”
Linwood was founded six years ago as a dream of artist and furniture designer Bob Timberlake to keep and create furniture manufacturing jobs in North Carolina. With a dozen of its own branded collections, the company also serves as a leading domestic OEM producer for other residential and contract furniture brands. As a totally domestic resource, every element in each piece of Linwood Furniture, from the raw lumber, adhesives and finishes to component parts and hardware, is made in the United States and often in North Carolina. The manufacturing line is set up for flexibility to accommodate orders of all sizes, to produce the Kaleidoscope program with its 500 different finishes, and to ship products in just three weeks, or less, from the date of the order.
“We’re in the right place at the right time as the industry re-discovers the advantages of buying products made in America,” he says. “In a world of offshore production, customers like the fact that when they call with questions, they can speak with someone who actually touches the furniture. They like the heritage and artisanal nature of handcrafted, solid wood furniture made from the heart.”
Linwood Furniture, LLC (linwoodfurniture.com) is a fully integrated, domestic producer of high quality, solid wood furnishings. Its branded Linwood – Carolina Furniture Artisans collections of furniture for every room of the home are sold to fine furniture stores and interior designers across the nation. The manufacturer augments the global sourcing footprint by also serving as an OEM and private label resource for other leading manufacturers and importers.
Formed in 2006 by Bob Timberlake with industry and community leaders, Linwood is committed to sustainable forestry and environmental practices while creating value for its customers by combining modern technology with time proven handcrafted techniques.