LENOIR, NC - Bernhardt Furniture celebrates its 125th year in business in 2014. Now led by the fourth generation, the Bernhardt family has been intimately involved throughout the company’s history.
The anniversary is being observed by a year of activities to honor culture, heritage and a legacy of giving.
“We are all very proud of our long heritage,” said Alex Bernhardt, Jr., CEO and president. “At this milestone, we reaffirm the company’s founding values of making quality furniture and building a strong community for our employees.”
John Mathias Bernhardt founded the first industrial venture in rural Lenoir, NC in 1889, which would later become the Bernhardt Furniture Company. Leveraging the region’s natural resources and local woodworking skills to strengthen the local economy, he opened his factory with vast ambitions and twenty-five employees.
From humble roots making oak bedroom furniture, Bernhardt capitalized on the evolution of the home by adding other styles and categories of residential furniture throughout the twentieth century. Expanding to new markets, it introduced a contemporary furniture brand, Bernhardt Design, in 1980. Bernhardt Hospitality was created in 2009 to serve the growing travel and leisure industry. Bernhardt is currently one of the largest family-owned companies in the country and employs people on six continents. Its furniture is found in homes, offices, hotels and universities around the world.
In honor of its 125th anniversary, the company released a new website www.bernhardt125years.com, highlighting Bernhardt Furniture’s cultural legacy and its associates, who are making outstanding contributions to their local communities. On the site, 12 individuals, nominated by their peers and chosen by a steering committee, will be featured in monthly segments, with the goal to engage and inspire people in the causes of community responsibility and cultural preservation. The company will make a donation to a charitable cause supported by the featured employees.
Bernhardt began its anniversary year in March with celebrations at each of the company’s nine North Carolina facilities. The company also will conduct a social media campaign and different events to thank employees and customers. Friends of the company will have the opportunity to attend gala anniversary celebrations throughout the year.
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