MADISON, Va. -- Troy Coppage announced that his furniture manufacturing company was closing. That’s when orders from longtime customers started rolling in.
Coppage, president of E.A. Clore Sons Inc., announced two years ago that the factory would be closing. Business had been hurt by low-priced, mass-produced furniture and changes in consumer tastes, and Coppage couldn’t see the point in letting the company, which makes handcrafted early American furniture and traces its roots back almost 200 years, wither and close down.
But before the company actually closed, business picked up as longtime customers rallied to get another chair or table before furniture making ended, and new customers also appeared. The Virginia company suddenly had a six-month backlog of orders -- and no reason to close.
“We’re just kind of blessed with the response we’ve gotten, and people have kind of spoken and said they want us to hang around," said Coppage. We’re gonna hang on as long as we can.”
The workforce has 17 full-timers and several part-timers. The company plans to continue and has no immediate plans to close.
The company, near Charlottesville, was established in 1821. Its longstanding tradition and craftsmanship developed a loyal following over the years. Coppage said the company plans to upgrade its website and get the word out to a younger generation, and make plans to be sustainable for the long haul.
Using air-seasoned and kiln dried woods and hand-rubbed finishes, furniture pieces are built with exact mortise-and-tenon detailing and dovetailed drawers. "We remain dedicated to the methods of old world construction using new world precision," as the company describes it. "From our estimations, the vast majority of the furniture found in homes today is hastily crafted, a fact we do not take lightly. We believe sustainable, lasting purchases help make our community and world a better place to live. We also believe functional furniture should be an heirloom."
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