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.