The History of Bassett Furniture Company

Bassett Furniture Company is a 100-year-old, Virginia company that started out as a manufacturer of bedroom furniture but has expanded today to make everything from office furniture to lamps, rugs and bedding.

Early Days

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Bassett Furniture Company was founded in 1902 by the Bassett family of Henry County, Virginia. The family owned a pair of sawmills that had supplied railroad ties and bridge-building material for the construction of the Norfolk & Western Railfroad. When the railroad was completed the family started selling wood to furniture makers. Then J.D. Bassett and his brothers decided to form their own furniture company rather than ship raw material. The company earned $76,000 in revenue in its first year. By 1920, it was a $1 million company.

Bassett Splinters

In 1921, J.D. Bassett formed a second furniture business, the J.D. Bassett Manufacturing Company. He ran both businesses. In 1927, J.D. Bassett's son William bought Craig Furniture Company, which he renamed W.M. Bassett Furniture Company. The products of all three companies were known by the Bassett brand, creating some confusion in the market.

Consolidation

In 1930 J.D. Bassett convinced his family to combine three separate Bassett companies in order to weather the Great Depression. The three companies became Bassett Furniture Industries.

Expansion and Acquisitions

The 1960s brought an era of expansion through acquisitions for Bassett Furniture that lasted into the 1980s. It bought about nine companies, including E.B. Malone Company, a mattress manufacturer, and National Mount Airy Furniture Company, a high end furniture maker.

Introduction of Bassett Dealerships.

In the mid-1990s, Bassett started selling franchises for Bassett Direct Plus Dealerships, a chain of large furniture stores that sell only Bassett furniture. Today the company has 130 stores spread across the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

About the Author

James McGill is an award-winning, Boston-base journalist and media professional with 13 years of experience in the academic book publishing, magazine, newspaper and web industry. His expertise extends from politics to information technology.