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Celebrating 70 years

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Sam Moore Furniture looks back at its history

By John Barnhart

Sam Moore Furniture is celebrating 70 years of making furniture.
    The company held plant tours, Saturday, as part of that celebration. West Wind, which performs a mix of southern rock and country music, provided entertainment.

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    “They’re real good, I think everybody enjoyed them,” Debbie Jones, human resources specialist at Sam Moore, commented.
    Jones estimated Saturday’s turnout for the event at about 1,000 people.
    Sam Moore manufactures high-end furniture. Everything is custom made, which gives the company a competitive advantage, according to Jones.
    “All of our production is by order,” she said.

    A subsidiary of Hooker Furniture, based in Martinsville, Sam Moore is Bedford’s second largest employer with 230 employees.
    Jones said the company started in Delaware, Ohio, in 1940 and came to Bedford in 1947. The plant moved to its current Dawn Drive location in 1959.
    Community support is important to the company and Sam Moore has a “giving back team.” The company recently donated a chair that the Bedford Christmas Station raffled to raise money to help stock the place when Christmas approaches.
    Supporting the troops is also important. Jones said that a lot of people have family members serving in the Armed Forces and the plant has a Supporting Our Troops Board with photos of those serving.
    Jones’ son, Steven, just got back from Iraq. Jones, a member of Bedford’s Company A, was one of a group of college students who were allowed to return ahead of the main body so that they could sign up for classes in time to make the fall semester.
    “This was his third tour in Iraq,” she said.
    According to a company history, Sam Moore Furniture got started when Sam Moore and four friends bought the Delaware Chair Company in Delaware, Ohio. Moore, who had been selling furniture, felt that he could make a better chair than the ones he was selling.
    In 1943 Moore found a vacant factory in Christiansburg and moved production to Virginia. The company became Sam Moore Chair. The Bedford plant was set up in 1947 in a four-story building on Grove Street. All production was eventually moved to Bedford in 1959 and the first plant on Dawn Drive, a 42,000 square foot facility, was up and running in 1960. It’s been expanded 12 times since then. The most recent addition, a 24,000 square foot finishing room, was added in 1999.
    John Boardman, Moore’s son-in-law, became president of the company in 1957 and ran it until he retired in 2000. It was sold to La-Z-Boy at that time. Hooker furniture acquired the company in 2007.