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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ivey C. Jones, January 18, 1994. Interview K-0101. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

The importance of the White Furniture Company in Mebane, North Carolina

Jones describes the White Furniture Company plant as a kind of community fallback, where anyone who needed a job could find decent employment, even if the wages and benefits were not great.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ivey C. Jones, January 18, 1994. Interview K-0101. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

JEFF COWIE:
Was White's kind of a center for the town?
IVEY C. JONES:
White's was the type of place that if you couldn't find a job anywhere else you could always go to White's Furniture Company and get a job. A lot of time people used White's as a last resort for finding employment. If you went to other places like Burlington Industries and you couldn't get a job there or if you went to some of the other plants in the Burlington area and couldn't find a job you could always go to White's. It was always like a fall back thing because they always needed help. They were a large company. They were a solid-based company at that particular time. You wouldn't have made a lot of money, but you still had the security of a job. If you had been unemployed for a period of time and couldn't find any work anywhere else rather than going to a Hardee's or a McDonald's you could always go to White's. Even though they didn't have a lot of benefits like Burlington Industries at least they did have an insurance program which was important especially if you've got a family. You were just about guaranteed work because at that particular time the furniture industry was going real good. All the furniture companies in the area were booming; Craftique, White's, and Melville Furniture down below Mebane. I guess you could say that White's at that particular time was the king of the furniture companies especially in this area. They were always in competition with Craftique. When I first went there I was always told that we were in competition with Bassett Company that is based in Virginia--"Bassett's eating us alive, Bassett's eating us alive." Bassett and White made two different types of furniture. White's made high-end and Bassett made middle- end to high-end type furniture.